Millenium Withdraws Permit Application for Massive Coal Export Terminal in Washington
March 15, 2011
On March 15, 2011, Sierra Club, as part of a coalition of conservation and clean energy groups, secured an important victory when Millennium Bulk Logistics, a subsidiary of Austrialia-based Ambre Energy, withdrew the shoreline permit application for its massive coal export terminal in Longview, Washington.
The permit withdrawal follows several weeks of reports about the company’s deception about the true size of the coal export project. While Millennium assured decisionmakers and the public that the terminal would handle five million tons of coal a year in its permit application, records released during discovery in Sierra Club and its allies’ ongoing lawsuit against the facility showed plans for exporting up to 80 million tons of coal abroad annually. The case was scheduled to head to trial in April before the state's Shorelines Hearings Board.
Millennium has stated that it will reapply for a permit after it conducts a new environmental review.
February 16, 2011
On February 15, 2011, Sierra Club and its allies discovered that developers of the new coal export terminal in Longview, Washington, mislead the public and decisionmakers about the size of the facility that they initially planned to build. In November 2010, Cowlitz County Commissioners approved a shoreline development permit for Millennium Bulk Logistics, a subsidiary of Austrialia-based Ambre Energy, as a first step in building the coal export facility that would ship five million tons of coal abroad annually. Yet records released during discovery in Sierra Club’s ongoing lawsuit against the facility show plans for shipping at least 25 million tons of coal per year – five times the capacity that was disclosed to the community and permitting officials. The expanded proposal would cause significantly more coal dust pollution in Longview and in communities along the rail route from Montana and Wyoming, where the coal is mined. The new proposal would also greatly increase rail traffic and coal shipments to Asia, leading to more harmful climate change impacts associated with burning the coal. The documents show that the company misrepresented its intentions and deliberately attempted to hide the full scope of the project from the community and government with the aim to skirt environmental laws and to speed the permitting process. Furthermore, company records suggest plans for future expansion phases to ship as much as 60 million tons of coal annually, an amount 12 times the size of the initial proposal.
Sierra Club, as part of a diverse coalition of environmental, citizen, and clean economy groups, will continue the fight to stop this dirty coal export proposal because it threatens public health and the environment, and runs counter to efforts to curb global warming emissions and build a clean energy economy.
To read more about Sierra Club’s efforts to fight this coal export proposal, click here!
December 14, 2010
On December 13, the Sierra Club, as part of a coalition of conservation and clean energy groups, took action to stop a new export terminal from being built that would ship five million tons of dirty coal abroad annually. The coalition filed an appeal with Washington State’s Shorelines Hearings Board challenging a permit that would be necessary to build a massive coal export facility in Longview, Washington. The groups contend that the facility would threaten public health and negate efforts in Washington state to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Cowlitz County commissioners granted the permit to Millennium Bulk Logistics, a subsidiary of Austrialia-based Ambre Energy, on November 23. The Longview coal export facility would be the first of several proposed coal terminals on the West Coast. Energy companies would use the terminal to send millions of tons of coal from Montana and Wyoming through the Columbia Gorge by train before loading it into ships bound for Asia.
In their appeal, the coalition argues that the Cowlitz County commissioners rubber stamped the permit when they approved it on November 23. County officials ignored significant permit deficiencies when they failed to study the consequences of burning coal in Asia, failed to consider the effects of potentially increased coal mining in the Powder River Basin, and failed to analyze the effects of transporting coal thousands of miles via train and ship to Asia. The groups are calling on the state Shoreline Hearing Board to invalidate the permit and to require the county to complete all the required analyses.
Sierra Club, Washington Environmental Council, Columbia Riverkeeper, and Climate Solutions are represented by Earthjustice in the appeal.
Details and Documents:
Millennium withdraws permit application for coal export mega-terminal in Longview, WA
March 15, 2011, Sierra Club et al. Press Release
Outrage at Discovery of Hidden Plan for Massive Coal Export Facility in Longview, WA
February 15, 2011, Columbia Riverkeeper et al. Press Release
Coalition Challenges Permit Allowing Dirty Coal Export to Asia from WA Port
December 13, 2010, Sierra Club et al. Press Release
Coal Foes Claim Victory Over Export Terminal
March 15, 2011 by Joel Millman, The Wall Street Journal
Company to resubmit permit for coal-shipping port
March 15, 2011, The Associated Press
Fight intensifies over West Coast coal exports to Asia
March 15, 2011, Los Angeles Times
Digging a Hole for China
March/April 2011 by Peter Frick-Wright, Sierra Magazine
Longview coal port: a big plan well hidden
February 17, 2011 by Daniel Jack Chasan, Crosscut
In Northwest, a Clash Over a Coal Operation
February 14, 2011 by William Yardley, The New York Times
Coal Foes Play China Card
February 4, 2011 by Joel Millman & Kris Maher, The Wall Street Journal
Coal terminal opponents grill Montana governor at commissioners' meeting
January 5, 2011 by Erik Olson, The Daily News
Should Washington state be a resource colony or clean-energy leader?
December 20, 2010 by Kevin Wilhelm & Ross MacFarlane, The Seatlle Times | Editorials / Opinions
Should Longview help China burn more coal?
December 15, 2010 by Daniel Jack Chasan, Crosscut
Coal terminal seen as a test case for West Coast ports
December 15, 2010, Platts Coal Trader
Greens grit teeth, gird to fight West Coast terminal, but Longview is bullish
December 14, 2010, Coal & Energy Price Report
Groups move to block proposed Wash. export facility
December 13, 2010 by Collin Sullivan, E&E News
Groups fight decision allowing Asia coal exports
December 13, 2010 by Phuong Le, The Associated Press
Nations That Debate Coal Use Export It to Feed China’s Need
November 21, 2010 by Elisabeth Rosenthal, The New York Times