For Immediate Release:
March 15, 2011
David Graham-Caso, Sierra Club, (213) 387-6528 ext. 214, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jan Hasselman, Earthjustice, (206) 343-7340, ext. 1025, email@example.com
Brett VandenHeuvel, Columbia Riverkeeper: (503) 348-2436, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kimberly Larson, Climate Solutions, (206) 443-9570 ext. 36, email@example.com
Kerry McHugh, Washington Environmental Council, (206) 631-2605, firstname.lastname@example.org
Millennium withdraws permit application for coal export mega-terminal in Longview, WA
Ongoing revelations about company’s deceptions around terminal size dogged application
LONGVIEW, Wash – Today, Millennium Bulk Logistics withdrew its permit application for a proposed mega-terminal for coal export to Asia in Longview, Washington. The withdrawal follows several weeks of reports about the company’s deception around the true size of the project.
“From the start, this proposal was a bad deal for Longview – coal dust causing health problems, coal trains causing traffic backups, and a coal company we couldn’t trust to tell us the simple truth,” said Becky Kelley with Washington Environmental Council. “Millennium withdrawing their permit application after the true size of their proposal was revealed just goes to show how much they’d misrepresented their intentions. Everyone needs to remember Millennium’s deceit when they try and push through this bad idea again.”
While company officials assured county commissioners and community members that the terminal would handle 5 million tons of year (an amount roughly equal to the amount of coal burned in Washington annually) in their permit application, internally, company officials were prepping for a facility that would export up to 80 million tons of coal to China.
“Millennium was trying to hide the serious public health impacts and traffic congestion caused by thousands of dirty coal trains and a dusty terminal,” said Brett VandenHeuvel with Columbia Riverkeeper. “Millennium got caught being dishonest and was forced to withdraw their permit.”
“The discrepancies between what they were purporting in their applications and what they were internally planning for was truly astonishing,” said Jan Hasselman, an attorney for Earthjustice, which represented the coalition of groups who appealed the initial permit."
“The profits were headed out of the country, but the health problems and pollution would have been here to stay”, said Ross Macfarlane, Senior Advisor for Climate Solutions. “This idea of turning Washington into a way station for coal - which will pollute our atmosphere with tons of carbon dioxide and toxics - is a losing idea for our health and our economy.”
In November 2010, Cowlitz County Commissioners approved a shoreline permit to build a coal export facility. In December 2010, a diverse coalition of clean economy, environmental, and citizen groups appeal the permit, saying the facility would threaten public health and run counter to state efforts to curb carbon pollution and build a clean energy economy. Also in December, the Washington State Department of Ecology intervened in the challenge contending that the permit had not considered the full impacts of the coal export facility. In February, company documents revealed the true scope of the project was up to 12 times what had been proposed in the permitting process.
“Public health, clean energy advocates and conservation groups are obviously pleased that this disastrous proposal will not rush forward as the coal company had hoped,” said Cesia Kearns, regional representative with the Sierra Club. “Our work to keep coal’s damaging pollution out of our air, water, lungs and climate continues. We hope that any other company currently considering willfully ignoring a community’s health so they can export coal is paying attention to this example.”
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About the Sierra Club’s Coal Free Northwest Campaign: The Sierra Club’s Coal Free Northwest Campaign is the regional effort in the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign- a national effort that aims to move our economy toward a clean energy future by stopping new polluting coal-fired plants, phasing out existing plants, and keeping U.S. coal reserves in the ground and out of international markets. Thanks in part to the work of the Beyond Coal Campaign, plans for 139 new coal plants have been shelved since the beginning of the coal rush, keeping more than 570 million tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and encouraging America to follow the path to a new clean energy economy.
About Washington Environmental Council: Washington Environmental Council drives positive change to address our state’s most critical environmental challenges. For more than 40 years, we’ve been pivotal to enacting our most important environmental protections. We do this by building and leading partnerships, mobilizing the public, engaging decision makers, and taking legal action to clean up our water, reduce climate pollution, and ensure healthy and livable communities.
About Earthjustice: Earthjustice is a non-profit public interest law firm dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth, and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment.
About Columbia Riverkeeper: Columbia Riverkeeper's mission is to restore and protect the water quality of the Columbia River and all life connected to it, from the headwaters to the Pacific Ocean.
About Climate Solutions: Climate Solutions mission is to accelerate practical and profitable solutions to global warming by galvanizing leadership, growing investment and bridging divides.