Department of Natural Resources Deals Blow to Longview Coal Export Terminal
A few years ago, there were five coal export terminals proposed in Washington and Oregon. A few months ago, there was one. And as of January 3, there just might be none.
On Tuesday, the state Department of Natural Resources denied Millennium Bulk Terminals permission to sublease state-owned aquatic land for its coal export proposal near Longview. That means that the company, should it want to move forward with the project, will likely have to figure out how to do so without access to a key stretch of the Columbia River.
For many environmental groups, tribes, and activists who have long opposed this and all such proposals in the region, a seemingly minor DNR decision by outgoing state Comissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark sounds the death knell to the very last coal export terminal proposed in the Pacific Northwest.
“They can’t build their terminal without this sublease,” says Brett VandenHeuvel, executive director of the nonprofit Columbia Riverkeeper. “It’s hard to imagine building a coal terminal without the state’s permission.” He adds that his organization has actively opposed the project for the past six years. To them, Tuesday’s decision is a very, very big deal. “We’re thrilled,” he says. “Very hopefuly, this is the end.”