The Washington Shorelines Hearings Board today upheld the denial of shoreline development permits for Millennium Bulk Terminals, an enormous coal export terminal proposed in Longview, Washington. In November 2017, the Cowlitz County Hearing Examiner denied required shorelines permits for the project; Millennium appealed that ruling to the Shorelines Hearings Board, arguing that the Hearing Examiner made legal and factual errors.
The Board agreed with the Washington Department of Ecology and conservation groups that the significant and unavoidable harms found during the environmental and public health review provided a valid basis for denying Millennium’s permits.
“Millennium would cause a host of harms to our air, water, fish, and health, and the Shorelines Hearings Board upheld the decision that these impacts were simply too great under Washington and Cowlitz County laws,” said Kristen Boyles, an Earthjustice attorney representing the conservation groups. “With yet another defeat, Millennium should fold its cards and leave the table.”
The Board also rejected Millennium’s argument that impacts from the coal terminal should be considered in two separate stages, an argument that would have allowed invalid piece-meal review.
“Building the largest coal export terminal in North America would cause unavoidable harm to people and the Columbia River,” said Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky, co-director of the Power Past Coal coalition and senior organizer for Columbia Riverkeeper. “It is time to close the coal export chapter and protect the health of local communities and our climate.”
“The people of Washington have spoken mdash; this project poses too much of a threat to our clean air, clean water and rapidly changing climate,” said Cesia Kearns, Deputy Campaign Director for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign.
The past decade saw seven coal export terminals proposed in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia to great public outcry and opposition. Not one has been constructed.
Washington Environmental Council, Climate Solutions, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Sierra Club, and Columbia Riverkeeper, represented by Earthjustice, intervened as parties in this case.