Washington

State faces another lawsuit over proposed coal port in Longview

FILE- This May 12, 2005, file photo, shows the port of Longview on the Columbia River at Longview, Wash. Millennium Bulk Terminals is proposing a $680 million coal-export terminal project on the Columbia River in Washington.
FILE- This May 12, 2005, file photo, shows the port of Longview on the Columbia River at Longview, Wash. Millennium Bulk Terminals is proposing a $680 million coal-export terminal project on the Columbia River in Washington. AP

The backers of one of the biggest coal terminals in North America have filed a second lawsuit against Washington state over a $680 million coal export terminal.

Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview filed the lawsuit Monday in Thurston County Superior Court against the state Department of Ecology.

The lawsuit alleges Ecology violated public records laws by withholding the basis for its findings in a key environmental impact statement.

A county hearing examiner last month relied on that statement when he denied two shoreline permits that Millennium Bulk needs for its Columbia River coal dock.

Ecology described nine adverse impacts from the coal dock in its report, from noise pollution to an impact on tribal resources. The hearing examiner added a tenth impact — greenhouse gas emissions.

Millennium says the state didn't provide the modeling data it used to estimate greenhouse gases and particulate emissions.

The denial is the second major blow to a coal export terminal in Washington.

In May 2016, the Army Corps of Engineers denied a needed permit for the Gateway Pacific terminal at Cherry Point in Whatcom County after finding it would damage tribal fishing rights. In February, developer Pacific International Terminals withdrew its application for Gateway Pacific, essentially closing the books on the project.

Millennium Bulk Terminals has long hoped to build a facility along the Columbia River to handle up to 44 million tons of coal a year. Trains would carry the coal from Montana, Wyoming and other states, which would be loaded onto ships headed to Asia.

Ecology concluded that the project, proposed for the site of the former Reynolds Metals Co. aluminum plant, would have filled 24 acres of wetlands, required 41.5 acres of the Columbia River bottom, and needed 537 pilings driven into the river for a new trestle and docks, according to The Daily News in Longview.

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