Millennium coal terminal project loses another appeal
Millennium Bulk Terminals has lost another appeal in its effort to build a new coal export terminal in Washington state.
A three judge panel of the Washington State Court of Appeals yesterday ruled that the
state Shoreline Hearings Board properly upheld a hearing examiner’s decision to deny Millennium’s substantial use and conditional use shoreline permit applications.
Millennium has been trying to build the terminal for about 10 years but has faced a number of challenges in obtaining all of the necessary permits. Staff for Cowlitz County, where the terminal is to be located, recommended in 2016 that the county approve substantial use and conditional use shoreline permits for the first phase of the project as long as the developers met 36 conditions, but a hearings examiner expressed concerns about Millennium’s plans and ultimately rejected the permits. The Shoreline Hearings Board upheld the examiner’s decision in 2018.
Millennium said in its appeal that the Shoreline Hearings Board made a number of procedural errors when it reviewed the case, including applying too limited of a scope in considering the hearing examiner’s decision. Judges on the Washington State Court of Appeals disagreed.
Millennium did not return a request for comment. Railroad BNSF, which intervened in the latest appeal and would provide rail service to the terminal, declined to comment.
Millennium still has other appeals in the works. That includes an appeal of the Washington Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) denial of a water quality permit, which is before the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals.
In addition, the governors of Wyoming and Montana have asked the US Supreme Court to consider overturning the DNR’s water quality permit decision.
If completed, the terminal would export western bituminous and Powder River basin coal.
Millennium’s parent Lighthouse Resources has proposed that the terminal initially handle 25mn short tons/yr (22.7mn metric tonnes) of coal and potentially up to 44mn t/yr later on.
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- On March 19, 2020