Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - November 11, 2018. 


More than 12-hundred missing in the California wildfires. Also on the Monday rundown: a pair of reports on gun violence in the nation; plus concerns that proposed Green-Card rules favor the wealthy.

Daily Newscasts

6 States Join Fray as Backers Attempt to Revive Wash. Coal Terminal

An Environmental Impact Statement from the Washington State Department of Ecology says a proposed coal terminal would require 16 more trains per day. (Darin Moulton/Flickr)
An Environmental Impact Statement from the Washington State Department of Ecology says a proposed coal terminal would require 16 more trains per day. (Darin Moulton/Flickr)
May 15, 2018

LONGVIEW, Wash. – Six states have joined the battle over a massive coal export terminal proposed in Washington state. The Millennium Bulk Terminal in Longview would have been the largest in the country but was denied several key permits by state officials last year.

Wyoming, Montana, Kansas, Utah, South Dakota and Nebraska have filed an joint amicus brief in federal court, saying the rejections were overly broad and could affect other commodities.

Kristen Boyles, an attorney with Earthjustice representing environmental groups intervening on Washington's behalf, says the state's decision was based on the particulars of the Millennium project, and not some wider denial of coal or commerce.

"The State of Washington is saying this terminal should not be built here because it has too many harmful impacts," she says. "That is a focused decision based on a pretty lengthy and detailed environmental review."

Washington state has asked the federal court to wait until state court proceedings have run their course before making a ruling. In its denial last year, the Washington Department of Ecology said the project came with too many unavoidable harms, such as increased air pollution, cancer risks to the local community and hazardous rail traffic.

At full operation, the agency found the terminal would emit nearly 40,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide a year, the equivalent of adding 8,300 cars to the road before any of the coal is burned.

Utah-based Lighthouse Resources, which is behind the $680 million project and brought the suit against Washington state in January, alleges the state is discriminating against coal.

Boyles says this company and the states that filed the brief have made Washington state's decision out to be a conspiracy against coal.

"But because you have a bad idea and propose a bad and harmful project doesn't mean everyone just says yes," she adds. "I mean, the state has looked at this and said, 'That is not the vision for our state, that is not what the community wants, and that's not what we're going to approve.' Those are processes and decisions that states make all the time."

The terminal would have shipped up to 44 million tons of coal a year to Asian markets. Boyles says motions in front of the federal court by Washington state to dismiss some of the claims could be heard this month.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA