Rail cars carry coal from a plant in Rawlins, Wyoming. In a sign of how seriously the coal industry takes actions by Washington state regarding coal, Matt Mead, the governor of Wyoming, has traveled to Longview to urge them to allow a new coal export terminal. Photo: Jim Wilson / The New York Times

By Hal Bernton
26 September 2017

(The 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.

The terminal developers have proposed to move as much as 44 million metric tons of coal annually — to arrive daily in up to 16 trains, each more than a mile long — through Cowlitz County. It would be the largest coal-export terminal in North America.

The department’s decision denies Millennium a state water-quality permit needed to fill 24 acres of wetlands and dredge 41.5 acres of the Columbia’s riverbed, according to the department statement.

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 decision was denounced by Millennium President William Chapman, who accused the Ecology Department of ignoring “decades of law” in rejecting that permit and the need for employment in Cowlitz County. [more]

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

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