Whatcom legislators, others split on decision to reject permit for coal terminal

FILE -- In this March 26, 2013 file photo, Republican state Sen. Doug Ericksen, left, and Democratic state Sen. Kevin Ranker listen to testimony from a climate change skeptic at a hearing in Olympia, Wash.
FILE -- In this March 26, 2013 file photo, Republican state Sen. Doug Ericksen, left, and Democratic state Sen. Kevin Ranker listen to testimony from a climate change skeptic at a hearing in Olympia, Wash. AP

Here are the responses from various people after learning the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has rejected a permit for the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal near Ferndale. The denial likely spells doom for the long-planned Cherry Point export terminal.

State Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island: “This is an incredible victory for human health, environmental health, clean energy and the sovereign rights of the Lummi Nation, which rightly challenged the project on the basis of its threat to their air, water and land.

“Today we move forward, past coal and towards healthier communities and the more sustainable path of renewable energies and green jobs.

“It makes far more sense to focus our infrastructure and training and employment efforts on family wage jobs that can serve Washingtonians for decades to come.”

State Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale: “I hope SSA Marine will appeal this decision and continue its effort to develop competitive port facilities in this state. We need to work to create good jobs in America.

“Instead of exporting good jobs overseas and increasing energy prices for our citizens, we need to work harder as elected officials to keep good-paying jobs right here at home.”

Sierra Club, via Twitter: “Congrats to Lummi Nation on today’s victory. Thanks for helping to protect the beauty of the Northwest! Thank the Army Corps for doing their duty by upholding the Lummi Nation’s treaty rights.”

Friends of the Columbia Gorge, via Twitter: “An historic day for the Lummi Nation & our region. The Army Corps of Engineers says no to coal & yes to tribal treaties.”

Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, via Twitter: “A helluva win after a helluva fight!”

Power Past Coal: “Thank the Army Corps today for honoring the Lummi people and their treaty and protecting us all from coal exports!”

Count on Coal Montana spokesperson Shelby DeMars: “There is no question that the Army Corps’ conducted the permitting review of the Terminal in a way that was intended, from the beginning, to rule against approval of this project. These out-of-touch regulators are actively destroying the best opportunities we have for growth, and Montana workers and our economy are left to deal with the fallout.

“The Gateway Pacific Terminal would bring significant benefits including jobs and tax revenue to Montana and cannot be understated. The project would allow the creation of 1,500 jobs in southeastern Montana, on and near the Crow Reservation, which has seen hundreds of jobs lost already as a result of the War on Coal. In addition, Montana would receive over $110 million per biennium for the state budget, and it would be a huge boost to our state economy. Opportunities like that don’t come along every day.”

Washington Environmental Council President Becky Kelley: “Today is a good day for all of us who have been fighting to stop coal export through the Northwest.

“All of us owe the Lummi Nation – and the many Tribal Nations that stood with them – a huge debt of gratitude.”

Nooksack Indian Tribe Council member Lona Johnson: “This has been a long journey and the Nooksack Indian Tribe is happy to be able to share in the joy and success of the Lummi Nation. A coal terminal at Cherry Point would violate treaty rights, and today the Corps affirmed that position and protected the Salish Sea for generations to come.”

U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Montana “The Gateway Pacific Terminal is incredibly important to Montana, the Crow (tribe), and even to the blue collar workers in Washington State because it is literally the gateway to economic prosperity and rising out of poverty.”

Cloud Peak Energy CEO and President Colin Marshall: The project “has been subjected to an unprecedented parallel process imposed by the Corps that served to pick winners and losers among Native American Tribes with differing interests in the project.