Coal Exports’ Demise

Big news in the fight to protect our climate and communities from dirty coal export!

Dirty Coal in Bankruptcy 

Big news in the fight to protect our climate and communities from dirty coal export! The coal company Lighthouse, backers of the Millennium coal export terminal proposed in Longview, Washington, lost its rights to build along the Columbia. Lighthouse filed for bankruptcy in 2020. The latest development: the bankruptcy court canceled Lighthouse’s lease rights to use the proposed terminal site, a former aluminum smelter, because Lighthouse couldn’t find a buyer for the coal export project. Millennium’s demise caps a decade of work and success opposing more than six coal export proposals that would have transformed the Columbia River into a coal chute. Thank you!  

You fought hard to stop the nation’s largest coal export terminal. Washington state denied key permits in 2017. The coal industry and the states of Montana and Wyoming have fought tooth and nail to overturn the state’s decisions. From Cowlitz County Superior Court to the U.S. Supreme Court, Lighthouse sought every litigation avenue to invalidate Washington state’s decisions rejecting coal export. And we continue to fight back in court. Lighthouse’s bankruptcy is the latest step in the long-awaited end to dirty coal export proposals along the Columbia.  

Here’s what it comes down to: Lighthouse went belly up because people like you in Longview and across the Northwest didn’t buy the coal industry’s lies. You care about our kids’ health. And you care about our climate. Lighthouse’s failed venture opens the door for a new era: cleanup at the old aluminum smelter where the coal terminal was proposed and responsible redevelopment.

Going up against the coal industry requires a team effort. Tribal Nations worked tirelessly to document and raise the wide-ranging impacts of mile-and-a-half long coal trains and coal tankers on people’s health and salmon. It was an honor to work in solidarity with Tribes to stop this short-sighted development. The victory over coal export also brought together an incredible coalition—Power Past Coal—that sparked a region-wide movement to move past dirty fossil fuels. We salute the incredible effort of our attorneys at Earthjustice, who defended, alongside Washington state’s attorneys, Millennium’s attempts to overturn the state’s decisions in court. 

In these troubled times, please take a moment to savor your success and reflect on what we can accomplish together.

The people have prevailed, so far, over every coal export proposal in Oregon and Washington, thanks to relentless effort and powerful work by several tribal nations. Learn about these inspiring efforts and the status of the coal company's last-ditch legal appeals.