State Denies Key Water Quality Permit for Longview Coal Project

Largest coal export terminal in North America likely dead

Caleb Heeringa, Deputy Press Secretary – Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, (425) 890-9744,

Longview, Washington – The Washington Department of Ecology denied a necessary water quality permit for the proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals coal export facility in Longview today, citing the project’s negative impacts on climate, clean air and water.  Absent a successful legal challenge to the decision, the denial renders the project formally dead. The decision can be found here:

If built, Millennium would have been the largest coal export facility in North America, sending up to 44 million tons of Powder River and Uinta Basin coal per year to Asian markets that are quickly turning away from coal-fired power. The state’s own analysis found that the climate pollution from this project would be equivalent to adding 8 million cars to the road at a time when our changing climate is contributing to catastrophic forest fires and stronger hurricanes. Millennium would also add up to sixteen trains a day traveling between the Powder River Basin and Longview, tying up traffic and impacting public safety response times in rail communities across the Pacific Northwest and contributing to higher rates of cancer in low-income communities, including Longview’s Highlands neighborhood.

Cesia Kearns, Deputy Campaign Director for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, issued the following statement:

“From the coalfields, along the rail lines, at the ports, and across the Pacific where massive new coal plants would be built, communities have been standing up to say no to coal, and yes to a clean energy future. Overwhelming scientific evidence shows that coal is a public health disaster - it poisons our water and air and contributes to our rapidly changing climate. Over one million people in the Pacific Northwest formally commented to say we can do better than fossil fuels, and thousands of impacted community members have shown up at hearings to speak to how they would be harmed. Today is a victory for everyone who would have been caught in the destructive path of coal exports, but also those who are suffering the real impacts of climate change. With every single coal export proposal in the Northwest denied or abandoned, we hope Northwest community leaders can now turn our attention to cultivating sustainable economic opportunities that keep our communities safe, healthy, and thriving instead of the boom and bust of dangerous fossil fuels.” 

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit