American coal companies want to export coal to Asia. Most coal trains would travel down the Columbia River.
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.
Millennium Bulk Terminals: Longview, Washington
The Millennium project would export up to 44 million tons of strip-mined coal per year from the Powder River Basin through a port in Longview, Washington. Millennium is backed by Resource Capital Fund, a private equity firm registered in the Cayman Islands. If built, Millennium would be the largest coal export terminal in North America.
We celebrated the January 2017 decision by the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to reject Millennium’s request to sublease state-owned aquatic land to build a new coal dock. The coal project received a second blow from the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) in September 2017. Ecology rejected Millennium’s Clean Water Act section 401 Water Quality Certification. Without Ecology’s approval, Millennium cannot ship coal.
In 2017, DNR, Ecology, and the County denied four key permits or use authorizations for the coal export terminal. Millennium appealed each denial in court—and sometimes in multiple courts. Riverkeeper and allies intervened in these cases to help defend Washington's good decisions. Earthjustice represents our coalition. So far Millennium has not succeeded in overturning the permits denials in court.
Lighthouse filed for bankruptcy in 2020. In early 2021, Lighthouse lost its rights to build along the Columbia. In particular, 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.
Watch this video "Washington State Denies Coal Terminal, What's Next?":
Gateway Pacific Terminal: Cherry Point, Washington
After careful review, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) issued a landmark decision denying federal permits for SSA Marine’s proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal, a coal export facility at Xwe’chi’eXen, also known as Cherry Point, Washington. In January 2015, the Lummi Nation asked the Army Corps to reject the project because of its significant harm to treaty-protected fisheries and ancestral lands. The historic decision dealt a severe blow to SSA Marine’s struggling proposal and marked the first time that a coal export facility was rejected based on its negative impacts to the treaty rights of a tribal nation.
Subsequently, DNR expanded the aquatic reserve at Cherry Point to include the would-be dock site for the Gateway Pacific Terminal. SSA Marine formally withdrew its permit application for the coal project on February 7, 2017.
Visit www.PowerPastCoal.org for the latest news and updates on the coal export campaign in the Pacific Northwest.
Morrow Pacific: Port of Morrow and Port Westward, Oregon
Your commitment to blocking dirty coal export in Oregon prevailed! Ambre Energy’s proposal to barge coal down the Columbia River from the Port of Morrow to Port Westward is dead.
In 2014, the Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) denied Ambre Energy a crucial permit to build a dock at the Port of Morrow. DSL found that allowing Ambre to build a coal dock would interfere with the existing fishery located at the proposed dock site and that “the fishery is more significant than the benefit of a coal dock.” Ambre Energy appealed, but ultimately withdrew its appeal in November 2016.
Strong and strategic opposition from tribal nations, including Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, the Nez Perce Tribe, as well as The Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission earned this victory. The commitment from residents across the Pacific Northwest, and the work of the Power Past Coal coalition, contributed to this victory. Thank you.
More information about the campaign to protect the Columbia from dirty coal:
- Dirty Coal in Bankruptcy, January 13, 2021
- Federal court delays coal project’s lawsuit against Washington state, April 12, 2019
- Good News: Big Coal's Summer Shenanigans are failing, Campaign Update, August 2018
- Coal Company Loses Appeal of Water Permit Denial, press release, August 15, 2018
- How We Fight to Protect the Columbia River from Fossil Fuel Polluters --and Win, Newsletter 2018, Issue 2
- Why Does Climate Change Matter to the Columbia? Newsletter 2018, Issue 2
- Millennium Coal Loses Again, press release, April 20, 2017
- Victory Over Millennium Coal, Newsletter 2017, Issue 3
- Strike Four! Another Permit Denial for Millennium, November 15, 2017
- Washington State Delivers Third Strike to Coal Export Terminal, October 25, 2017
- Record Breaking Coal Comments: 169,000! July 27, 2017
- Proposed Coal Export Terminal in SW Washington Will Cause Significant and Long-Lasting Harm to People, Community, Climate, and Columbia River, April 2017
- Northwest Coal Terminals’ Last Stand, April 17, 2017, Sightline Institute
- Conservation Groups Intervene to Defend Washington State Against Coal Exporter’s Lawsuit, March 29, 2017
- Breaking News on Coal Export: Major Announcements from the Dept. of Natural Resources, January 3, 2017
- EPA: Federal Review of Longview Coal Export Terminal “Inadequate”, December 1, 2016
- BNSF Railway Required to Address Coal Train Pollution, November 15, 2016
- Power Past Coal Coalition Comments to US Army Corps of Engineers draft Environmental Impact Statement
- Lummi Nation Totem Pole Carvers Bring Latest Pole to Longview in Opposition to Coal Export
- UW Research: Coal Spills
- Record-Breaking Opposition to Coal
- Power Past Coal Coalition Comments on Dept. of Ecology and Cowlitz County's Draft Environmental Impact Statement
- Draft Environmental Impact Statement Comments on Millennium Coal Bulk Terminals Longview
- Over Quarter Million Public Comments Against Largest Coal Export Terminal In North America
- Millennium Coal Hearing in Longview, WA, Draws 1k+ Attendees
Your hard work keeps paying off. On November 14, 2017, Cowlitz County delivered another blow to the proposed Millennium coal export terminal. The Cowlitz County Hearing Examiner denied two key permits because Millennium failed to meet the requirements of the Shorelines Management Act.