Comments Due June 13 on Last, Largest Coal Terminal


With the May 9 victory of the Lummi Nation over the proposed Gateway Pacific coal export terminal at Cherry Point, Washington, the Millennium Bulk Terminals coal port in Longview, Washington, 460 miles from Sandpoint, Idaho, could become the largest such facility in North America. Please speak out against the many direct impacts that its eight additional, fully-loaded, daily coal trains would impose on Idaho public and environmental health, by sending your written comments to Washington officials before the 11:59 pm PDT June 13 deadline.  Reference the attached Power Past Coal Millennium Bulk Terminals DEIS Talking Points and the previous Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) action alert [1].

Thanks to ongoing, inspiring work by a diverse spectrum of grassroots climate activists to mainstream environmental groups, thousands of regional residents participated and testified at three public hearings on the draft environmental impact statement for this last of six proposed coal export terminals in the Northwest [2, 3]. Three cheers for the dozens of die-hard, anti-coal organizers from across Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, who coordinated participation and arranged carpools for these hopefully historically last public hearings and rallies against Northwest coal trains and ports.

Community members including WIRT representatives attended a 4 pm rally and expressed valid concerns about fossil fuel impacts through their testimony between 1 and 9 pm at the Thursday, May 26 hearing at the Spokane Convention Center in Spokane, Washington [4]. Bravo to Jacob Johns and other event participants from Spokane and northern Idaho, who blasted the basics of the folly of approving, permitting, building, and operating the Millennium carbon bomb [5]!  We enjoyed sharing the adventure of fossil fuel resistance with co-workers and friends in Spokane, during and after the public proceedings, especially while learning that Arch Coal withdrew its interest in this coal port project [6]:

“The second largest coal company in America and last big name in the coal export game…handed over its 38 percent share in the proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals in Longview, Washington, to the project’s last remaining supporter, Lighthouse Resources – a company that used to be called Ambre Energy North America…Arch itself declared bankruptcy in January…Given the dismal outlook for coal exports, the bankrupt company simply couldn’t bear the ongoing cost of keeping the project alive…Arch’s exit leaves precisely one player in the coal export game in Washington and Oregon: Lighthouse Resources, which now stands as the only backer of Millennium and which also hopes to resuscitate its nearly-defunct Morrow Pacific project in Oregon. Lighthouse owns a pair of struggling coal mines, one in Wyoming and the other in Montana, and its entire business model hinges on exporting coal into seaborne markets that are now badly oversupplied with cheap coal.”

Thanks to Spokane anti-coal/oil guru Laura Ackerman of The Lands Council, WIRT also participated in, recorded, photographed, and testified at the 1 to 9 pm, industry-dominated hearing and 4 pm coal opposition rally on Thursday, June 2, at the TRAC Center in Pasco, Washington [7, 8]. About 80 blue-shirted, pro-coal-jobs lackeys and 50 red-clad Earth defenders testified to Washington Department of Ecology and Cowlitz County, Washington officials, about the Powder River Basin coal train terminal proposed for Longview, Washington.  As one lone Idahoan again, WIRT is grateful for the honor and pleasure of standing with scores of knowledgeable, warm-hearted, and intrepid comrades from across Washington, as we gathered, conversed, testified, and rallied in Pasco.  The WIRT emblem on a T-shirt even appeared in a Tri-City Herald and Bellingham Herald news article photo of the rally, with this caption that missed Walla Walla elder Cathy Sampson-Kruse flashing a peace sign [9, 10]:

“Opponents Chris Howard of Walla Walla, from right, Helen Yost of Sandpoint, Idaho, and Daeuthen Dahlquist, 11, of White Salmon, cheer during a Thursday rally outside the third and final hearing on the proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals coal export terminal at Longview, held at the TRAC facility in Pasco. See a video at tricityherald.com/video.”

The most salient display of industry and government disregard for genuine public input occurred toward the end of the Pasco hearing convened on traditional Yakama tribal lands. Hearing moderators cut off testimony by Mathew Tomaskin, the legislative liaison of the Yakama Nation, while he disclosed that the Washington Department of Ecology and Cowlitz County had not consulted the tribe about the proposed coal export terminal and associated trains [11, 12].  When he talked beyond two minutes, as he had initially stated that he would, moderators rudely interrupted him, silenced his microphone, and called for a hearing break.  Much of the audience stood in support of Mr. Tomaskin, who did not receive the respectful treatment deserved by his dignified representation of a sovereign nation.

Thanks for commenting on this potentially climate-wrecking fossil fuel infrastructure!

[1] Last, Largest Coal Port DEIS Hearings, May 26, 2016 Wild Idaho Rising Tide

[2] Millennium Coal Hearing in Longview, Washington Draws 1K+ Attendees, May 25, 2016 Columbia Riverkeeper

[3] Longview Coal Terminal Plan Draws Hundreds to All-Day Hearing in Spokane, May 26, 2016 Spokesman-Review

[4] WIRT Testimony at Millennium Bulk Terminals DEIS Hearing in Spokane on May 26, 2016, May 31, 2016 Wild Idaho Rising Tide

[5] Jacob Johns Testimony Video, May 27, 2016 Dancing Crow Media

[6] Arch Coal Backs Out of Longview Export Terminal, May 27, 2016 Sightline Institute

[7] Pasco 6.2 Hearing Photos, June 3, 2016 Kat Holmes

[8] Millennium Bulk Terminals DEIS Hearing Pasco 6-2-16, June 12, 2016 Wild Idaho Rising Tide

[9] Coal Train Plan Pits Jobs Against Climate, June 2, 2016 Tri-City Herald

[10] Anti-Coal Activists, Coal Port Supporters Clash in Tri-Cities, June 3, 2016 Bellingham Herald

[11] Mathew Tomaskin, Legislative Liaison of the Yakama Tribe at Pasco 6.2 Hearing, June 6, 2016 Katherine Holmes

[12] Mathew Tomaskin Pasco Testimony Photos, June 3, 2016 Wild Idaho Rising Tide

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