Coastal Coal Decision Impacts Montana, Wyoming

Jan 4, 2017

A Burlington Northern and Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway coal train east of Livingston, Montana traveling west.
Credit (Flickr/ Tim Evanson) (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/fcaznD

Washington state is refusing to allow its aquatic lands to be used for a major coal-export terminal along the Columbia River.

Outgoing Washington Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark announced Tuesday that he has rejected a request from Northwest Alloys to sublease the state’s aquatic lands to Millennium Bulk Terminals for the coal-export terminal

The denial of the land sublease is a critical blow to the proposed coal port in Longview, Washington, which would mean 16 additional mile-and-a-half-long coal trains per day rolling through Montana and Wyoming on their way to the coast.


Northern Plains Resource Council issued the following statement:

“This is a major win for communities along the rail line, from Montana and Wyoming all the way to Washington’s coast,” said Beth Kaeding, a Bozeman resident and past chair of Northern Plains Resource Council.

“This decision appears to be in response to the long record of public opposition, from the coal mines to the West Coast, to this terrible proposed terminal. Dramatic increases in coal train traffic through our communities would mean increased air pollution, more blocked railroad crossings, and a heightened risk for derailments, not to mention lower property values along the railroad tracks."

The denial of the state lands sublease is a critical blow to the proposed coal port at Longview, which would mean 16 additional mile-and-a-half-long coal trains per day rolling through Montana on their way to the coast.

In the same announcement, Commissioner Goldmark also announced that he will expand Puget Sound’s Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve north of Bellingham to include land previously considered for a large coal export facility there.

 

Northern Plains Resource Council is a conservation and family agriculture group based in Billings, Montana.

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