Washington state coal project rejected for failing to meet environmental standards
The decision makes B.C. the only exporter of thermal coal in the Pacific Northwest
B.C. is now the only exporter of thermal coal in the Pacific Northwest after Washington state rejected a coal project for failing to meet environmental standards.
Had it been approved, the Millennium Bulk Terminals coal export facility in Longview, Wash., would have doubled coal exports from the U.S.
But after seven years of research, the Washington state department of ecology denied a necessary water quality permit, saying it would cause "significant and irreversible harm."
The facility would have exported 44 million metric tons of coal to Asia.
Maia Bellon, director of the Washington state department of ecology, said the project failed the state environmental policy act.
"Of the 23 environmental areas that were reviewed, 19 of those areas were concerning. Out of those 19 areas, nine had significant adverse unavoidable impacts, meaning they couldn't be mitigated in that area," she said.
Arie Ross, an anti-coal activist who works with the Dogwood Initiative, said she anticipates the decision will negatively impact B.C.'s coal exports.
"I think the denial at Longview will really signify that this is the end of thermal coal exports and that it is a matter of time before B.C. catches up and finally says no to a super dangerous product that does not bring benefits to B.C.," she said.
Thermal coal is currently handled in B.C. at Westshore terminals in Delta.
A proposal is still out on the table to allow thermal coal shipments on the Fraser River from Fraser Surrey Docks and the Port of Vancouver.
With files from Tamara Rahmani