Breaking News on Coal Exports

Background fighting & winning: Six coal proposals in Oregon & Washington in the past; this is the last one!

Fight & Winning: Celebrate the end of Millennium Coal Terminal Proposal.

Together, the people convinced one of Washington’s most powerful agencies to deliver two major blows to Big Coal in the Northwest – including denying a key approval for the last, largest remaining coal terminal proposal in Longview.

This is HUGE.

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After a major victory in May of 2016 in response to the Lummi Nation, the Army Corps denied a critical permit for the Gateway Pacific coal terminal. Now, at the request of the Lummi Nation, the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has agreed to expand the aquatic reserve to encompass Cherry Point. This provides more permanent protections to this culturally significant and resource rich place, and locking in the victory at Cherry Point.

But that’s just victory #1!

DNR also denied a key lease for the Millennium Bulk Terminals’ project in Longview, thereby rejecting Millennium’s request to use state-owned land in the Columbia River to build new docks to export dirty coal.  That means that DNR gave a firm ‘no’ to the nation’s biggest coal export terminal. Why? For over six years, people from across the Northwest, Tribes, and community leaders banded together. Armed with science, common sense, and people power, we convinced DNR that Millennium’s shaky finances and environmental impacts had no place on the iconic Columbia River.

And we WON! DNR delivered a big blow to Millennium yesterday but the fight is not over. We must ensure that each and every permit is denied so that  our communities are protected from this project once and for all.

Like most epic victories, there were many heroes. Tribes from across the Northwest stood in solidarity with elected leaders, municipalities, businesses, health professionals, and faith leaders. Countless people volunteered their time. Power Past Coal coalition members worked together, breaking records and showing elected officials that coal is so last century. The whip-smart attorneys at Earthjustice uncovered documents showing Millennium was lying about how much coal it wanted to handle, creating a major roadblock that set the project back years.

And then there is you. Whether you signed a petition, testified at a hearing, or volunteered your time, this victory belongs to you. We know you will continue to be there in this powerful network to make sure 2017 is the year Washington decision-makers reject coal exports for good.

We head into 2017 armed with an incredible victory that nobody predicted six years ago. The Northwest will hold the line on dirty fossil fuels. It’s our job now to ensure that this victory holds strong and that Millennium packs up and leaves the Pacific Northwest.

Did you see what the wanna-be coal exporters at Millennium have to say about DNR’s decision? “Meaningless.” The spin machine is on full throttle. Like other dying fossil fuel projects before it, Millennium is trying to save face as it grapples with DNR’s decision. And, like other dying fossil fuel projects before it, Millennium might drag this out in court or take many months to withdraw all permit applications. Columbia Riverkeeper will continue to track this zombie coal export terminal and keep you posted.

 


For immediate release: January 3, 2017

Statement on Washington Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Decision to Deny Lease for Columbia River Coal Export Terminal

Statement from Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky, Columbia Riverkeeper on behalf of the Power Past Coal Coalition, on Washington Department of Natural Resources’ decision to deny aquatic lands sublease for Millennium Bulk Terminals, Longview, WA:

“Commissioner Goldmark listened to the public and gave a firm ‘no’ to the largest coal terminal in the country. Millennium started off misleading the public about the intended size of the coal terminal and later ignored Washington state’s request for critical information on their finances. Millennium failed to show they can protect public resources–the Columbia River. We ring in the new year with a major victory for the public, and showing that, once again the Northwest holds the line on dirty fossil fuels.”

Background:

Millennium proposes building the nation’s largest coal export terminal on the banks of the Columbia River in Longview, Washington. The project would send 44 million tons of coal per year in uncovered coal trains from the Powder River Basin along the Columbia River and dozens of other waterbodies. Since its inception, the project drew unprecedented opposition. In 2016, Tribes, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and over a dozen cities urged Washington state to deny permits for the project.

Millennium requested a sublease from Washington DNR, which manages state-owned aquatic lands in the Columbia River adjacent to the proposed coal terminal. DNR has broad authority to grant or deny subleases. DNR currently has a lease with NW Alloys, a subsidiary of Alcoa.

On January 3rd, DNR denied Millennium and Alcoa’s request to sublease aquatic land to Millennium. Alcoa is not a partner in Millennium’s coal export venture; however, Alcoa owns the underlying upland lease at the proposed coal export terminal.

Power Past Coal is represented by EarthJustice and CRAG Law Center.

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POWER PAST COAL is an ever-growing alliance of health, environmental, clean-energy, faith and community groups and businesses working to stop coal export off the West Coast.  Powerpastcoal.org

Columbia Riverkeeper’s mission is to protect and restore the water quality of the Columbia River and all life connected to it, from the headwaters to the Pacific Ocean.For more information go to columbiariverkeeper.org.

Additional information:
Goldmark enlarges Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve, denies Millennium sublease request


One Response to “Breaking News on Coal Exports”

  1. Sally Newell says:

    I am so thrilled by Commissioner Goldmark’s parting gift to the natural world. He’s been a great friend to Washington’s natural resource legacy, and will be missed. Thank you, Peter Goldmark, for this and many other decisions that have been good for our Evergreen State!