Good News: Big Coal's Summer Shenanigans Are Failing

Read a snapshot of how Columbia Riverkeeper is defending your victory over coal export.

coal victory artwork, art by nina montenegro
Photo victory artwork by Nina Montenegro.

Your commitment to clean water and healthy communities caused a major upset in the coal industry. In 2017, Washington state and local authorities denied key permits for Millennium, a proposal to build the nation’s largest coal shipping terminal along the Columbia River in Cowlitz County, WA. Today, coal executives are throwing dirty coal tantrums all over Washington D.C. and in the courts to force coal shipments through Washington state. We’re fighting back—and winning.

Here’s a snapshot of how Columbia Riverkeeper is defending your victory over coal export.

  1. Winning in Court: Last month, a state board upheld the Washington Department of Ecology’s decision to deny Millennium’s Clean Water Act permit! In April, a different state board upheld a county-level permit denial. These rulings prove that legal maneuvering by Millennium won’t supersede state and local laws that protect clean air, water, and our communities. Power Past Coal Coalition partners intervened in five court cases brought by Millennium.
  2. Supporting a Community-Led Effort to Uncover the True Health Cost of Coal: Cowlitz County, the Washington Department of Health, and local community members are hard at work on a Health Impact Assessment. Our goal: reveal the health impacts of a 40-million-ton-per-year coal shipping terminal located near people’s homes and businesses. Millennium will have a hard time hiding from the latest science on increased cancer rates and other harmful health impacts when government agencies complete the study this fall.
  3. Standing Up for States’ Rights to Say No to Big Coal: Millennium sued Governor Inslee and other state leaders, arguing the state violated the U.S. Constitution when it denied permits for a single coal terminal. With support from the legal-eagles at Earthjustice, we are fighting side-by-side with the state in court to defend the denials. Case update: Last month, the states of California, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and Oregon filed an amicus brief to defend Washington’s decision to deny a state permit for the coal terminal.
  4. Holding the Line in Congress: Five Republican U.S. senators sponsored a bill intended to speed up the permitting process for Millennium by narrowing the scope of the Clean Water Act. As part of the Power Past Coal Coalition, our fight to protect the Columbia River moves to D.C.

Eight years ago, the coal industry lumbered into the Pacific Northwest, confident people would cave to their dirty coal plans. Thank you for continuing to prove them wrong.