September 27, 2017 Read More →

State Denies Permit on Last of Proposed West Coast Coal-Export Terminals

Seattle Times:

The Washington State Department of Ecology has denied a key permit for the Millennium Bulk Terminals in Longview, a decision that if it withstands appeal would kill the last remaining proposal in the state to export Western coal to Asia.

The department denied the permit citing nine problem areas, including rail safety, air pollution, noise pollution and tribal resources. “There are simply too many unavoidable and negative environmental impacts for the project to move forward,” Ecology Director Maia Bellon, said in a statement Tuesday.

Bellon, in an interview with reporters, said the denial was based on a broader evaluation of the project’s impact, including on water quality.

The project has run into economic challenges as the price coal can fetch in Asia has dropped due to slackening demand. Also, Northwest environmentalists fiercely oppose the project, railing against the prospect of increased coal-train traffic through the region, and exporting a fossil fuel that emits greenhouse gases.

“The Pacific Northwest will not be a hub for the global trade in dirty fossil fuels. It is not who we are,” said Jan Hasselman, an Earthjustice attorney who represented a coalition of environmental groups in litigation over the project. “The conversation about coal export from the Pacific Northwest is over.”

Last year, a separate project to build a coal-export terminal at Cherry Point, in Whatcom County, was denied a federal Army Corps of Engineers permit, a decision based on protection of tribal treaty fishing rights.

More: Washington state denies key permit for Columbia River coal terminal, potentially dooming project

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