Last week, the largest of six coal export terminals proposed for the Pacific Northwest was scuttled when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determined that the port facility could harm Lummi Tribal fishing rights.

The permit for the Gateway Pacific Terminal was denied and the Lummi Nation-along with their allies across the Northwest-cheered. The terminal would have had the capacity for 54 million tons of coal a year-most of which would have been hauled through North Idaho.

The project was denied based on the potential impact to the Lummi’s fishing grounds in the Salish Sea, but numerous other impacts had been identified-from the coal dust escaping uncovered mile-long trains all along the route from the Powder Basin of Montana and Wyoming to traffic congestion in communities all along the way.

This was one of a half-dozen coal export terminals slated to be built in Washington and Oregon. In 2014, the Oregon Department of Lands denied a dredge and fill permit for Ambre Energy’s Port of Morrow coal export terminal, and prior to that, three other project died in Coos Bay, Ore.; Clatskanie, Ore.; and Grays Harbor, Wash.

Now the last port project standing is the Millennium Bulk Terminal in Longview, Wash. Another high-volume terminal, this project would handle 44 million tons of coal a year, generating up to 16 trains a day rumbling through North Idaho, spilling coal dust and clogging traffic at many crossings.

The draft environmental impact statement has been released by the Washington Department of Ecology and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and among the impacts identified is an increase of 27 million tons a year of greenhouse gas emissions, which would increase Washington state’s GHG emissions by 30%.

Let’s keep it in the ground and send this proposal packing, too. One of three public hearings on the project will be held Thursday, May 26, at the Spokane Convention Center, 334 W Spokane Falls Blvd, from 1 to 9 pm. Come and wear red!

Contact us for carpool/vanpool information! If you can’t make it to the hearing, you can send your comments online. The deadline for comments in June 13.