Cowlitz County Hearings Examiner Denies Shorelines Permits for Coal Export

November 14, 2017 (Longview, WA)The Cowlitz County Hearing Examiner today denied two shoreline use permits for the proposed Millennium coal export terminal for causing significant unavoidable harm and failing to meet the requirements of the Shorelines Management Act. This decision marks the fourth independent denial of project permits; without these permits, Millennium cannot go forward.

The Hearing Examiner found that “in this hearing the County and the Applicant have been given the opportunity to propose reasonable mitigation.  Nonetheless, by the conclusion of the hearing the parties had failed to do so.  As the unchallenged FEIS concludes that the Project has many unavoidable, significant adverse impacts, and as the parties have failed to provide reasonable mitigation, the Shorelines Permits must be denied.”
“This decision marks the fourth time that Millennium’s coal export proposal failed to meet local and state laws,” stated Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky, Co-Director of the Power Past Coal Coalition. “Millennium faces insurmountable hurdles, and the company should end their coal export aspirations today.”
At the public hearing last week in Longview, WA, Millennium admitted that it would not comply with a requirement to mitigate 100 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the project, and as a result, upped the number of significant and unmitigable impacts caused by the project from nine to ten.
The Hearing Examiner found that the harmful impacts to public health and the environment “preclude any conclusion that the Project results in a long term over short term benefit.”  The harmful impacts include excess noise, increased risk of cancer, traffic delays, disproportionate impacts to minority and low-income communities, statewide rail capacity, rail safety, vessel transportation, tribal resources, and greenhouse gas emissions.
“It’s time for Millennium to stop pushing this unwanted and risky project. This decision enables Washingtonians to finally move forward and invest in creating 21st century clean jobs that are built to last,” said Rebecca Ponzio, Fossil Fuel Program Director, Washington Environmental Council.
“I took an oath to protect the lives and wellbeing of our communities. The Millennium coal export proposal runs counter to all of medicine, and the health and wellbeing of our community, ” said Dr. Stephen Chandler, a Longview physician who treats cancer patients every day. “Our voices were heard by the Hearing Examiner and I hope that his decision will finally stimulate our leaders to move forward with a healthy, productive and creative use of this precious river site.”

“The findings of fact in the most recent permit denial for Millennium once again shows that coal pollution harms the cool clean water our fisheries depend on. We call on the County to turn their attentions away from out of town developers who would bring toxic mercury and acid rain to critical salmon habitat and instead help unite our local community interests with sustainable waterfront developments that grow great jobs without harming our salmon as a cost of doing their business,” said Grant Putnam, President, Northwest Guides & Anglers Association.


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


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