Washington Killed A Project To Export 44 Million Tons Of Coal To Asia. Now The State Is Getting Sued

Tim Pearce | Energy Reporter

A company proposing to build a coal export terminal in Washington sued state regulators Tuesday for “biased and prejudiced decision-making” in denying a water quality permit for the project, The Associated Press reports.

The coal terminal would be able to export as much as 44 million tons of coal to Asia every year from states such as Montana and Wyoming. It would be one of the largest terminals in North America.

“There are simply too many unavoidable and negative environmental effects for the project to move forward,” Washington’s Department of Ecology Director Maia Bellon said according to the AP.

State regulators weighed more factors than reasonable for a water quality permit, one of 23 permits needed for his company’s project to go through, Millennium Bulk Terminals CEO William Chapman said.

“What we’re doing here is putting a spotlight on a process that has gone awry,” Chapman said, according to OPB news. “The state’s main environmental regulatory agency is trampling over its own fact-finding in order to deny a project that is capable of meeting all applicable environmental standards.”

In denying the permit, the ecology department factored in effects on nine broad categories including air quality, river and rail traffic, and noise.

Bellon defended her department’s decision to take extra measures on this project and ultimately to deny the permit.

“I feel very strongly that is a solid decision and feel in no way that it was arbitrary,” she said, according to OPB.

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