Conservation Groups Intervene to Defend Washington State Against Coal Exporter’s Lawsuit

Groups filed in support of Washington Department of Natural Resources’ decision rejecting nation’s largest coal export terminal


Kristen Boyles, Earthjustice, (206) 343-7340 ext. 1033


Brett VandenHeuvel, Columbia Riverkeeper, (503) 348-2436


Rebecca Ponzio, Washington Environmental Council, (206) 631-2604

Today Columbia Riverkeeper, Washington Environmental Council and Sierra Club—represented by Earthjustice—took steps to defend the Washington Department of Natural Resources against a high-profile lawsuit filed by backers of the nation’s largest coal export terminal. On Feb. 2, Millennium Bulk Logistics and NW Alloys (a subsidiary of Alcoa) sued the Washington Department of Natural Resources after the department denied a key lease needed for Millennium to operate a proposed 44 million ton per year coal export terminal along the Columbia River. 

Longview is located along the Columbia River.

“For over six years, people from across the Northwest, Tribes, and community leaders worked together to protect clean water and our climate from coal export. Now we’ll fight tooth and nail to defend Washington State’s commonsense decision rejecting Millennium’s plan to turn the Columbia River into the West Coast’s coal export highway,” said Brett VandenHeuvel, Executive Director of Columbia Riverkeeper.

“We stand with the Department of Natural Resources, and are working towards a cleaner, healthier Washington for all,” said Rebecca Ponzio, with Washington Environmental Council. “Simply stated, the future is about clean energy, not coal.” 

“Millennium had no answers to the state’s basic questions on its finances and ability to protect the Columbia River,” said Kristen Boyles, an attorney with Earthjustice representing the conservation groups. “Especially for a project that has already been caught misleading the public about its size and impacts, DNR’s decision protects Washington’s fiscal and environmental health.”

“In 2010 there were six new coal export terminals proposed in Oregon and Washington. Thousands of Northwest residents spoke loud and clear about their myriad concerns with the dangers of coal for our health, safety, air and water,” said Cesia Kearns, Deputy Regional Director for Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. “Millennium is the last remaining project, and we will continue to do everything we can to make sure Northwest families are heard and protected.”


On January 3, DNR rejected Northwest Alloy’s request to sublease to Millennium to build and operate the proposed coal export terminal at the site of a former aluminum smelter near Longview, WA. Without the sublease, Millennium cannot build new docks necessary to export coal, and without new docks, Millennium cannot operate its coal export terminal. Millennium and Northwest Alloys filed a lawsuit in Cowlitz County Superior Court on Feb. 2, challenging DNR’s decision.

Longview in Cowlitz County, WA, the proposed site of the coal export terminal (Alex Butterfield / CC BY 3.0)

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