A new research poll came out this week, noting that Washington voters, 2-to-1, support the export expansions in the state. There’s no wonder –think of the economic impact these terminals would have on the region. A recent study from the National Mining Association actually captures the economic benefits coal exports could provide for Oregon, and the projected value of these exports is worth considering for a moment.

This study caught my attention for two reasons: it found that Oregon already reaps the economic benefits from coal exports and it also found there are substantial economic gains that coal exports provide.

According to the research, Oregon is home to about 620 jobs that are indirectly related to coal exports, resulting in about $35 million worth of labor income. Additionally coal exports add a gross value of about $69 million to our state annually. This is a huge economic boost –all stemming from indirectly exporting coal. Imagine what would transpire if we directly exported coal –think of the huge economic boost in store.

Another finding from this report caught my eye:  Every 1 million tons of coal exports creates on average 1,300 jobs. Think about that for a second, especially considering that the Port of Morrow it is expected to ship up to 8 million tons of coal per year. At full capacity, it would create a staggering 10,400 direct and indirect jobs. This is an enormous boost to our state, not to mention the indirect benefits we’d receive if Washington authorized their proposed export terminals, too.

We’re not talking about insignificant job growth; we’re talking about long-term, family wage jobs. The study found that the average labor income for the total wages and benefits of coal related export jobs is, on average, around $96,100. To put that into perspective, Oregon’s median household income was around $50,000 last year.

This study exhibits why polls, including this recent Washington poll, have been favorable for the export facilities –people want economic growth. Oregon has an opportunity to take advantage of a long-term industry expansion, and I think people are starting to understand the benefits of these terminals.