The Cowlitz County Commission voted 3-0 today to approve a permit for an Australia-based company to establish the West Coast’s first major coal export terminal in Longview, Wash.
Millenium Bulk Logistics, a subsidiary of Australia’s Ambre Energy, wants to export 5.7 million tons of U.S. coal to Asia at the Chinook Ventures private port in Longview. The coal would come by train from Montana and Wyoming to be shipped out through the Columbia River.
The county permit is one of several needed before the facility can be established on waterfront property.
Opponents worried about the local and global environmental impacts of the decision say the county gave approval without enough analysis. And they’re looking to the state to weigh in on bigger issues such as the implications of U.S. coal exports for global climate change and air pollution.
“The nation’s eyes are upon us. It’s time for Governor Gregoire to step in and decide whether Washington becomes a leader for a clean energy future or a gateway for dirty coal to China,” said Brett VandenHeuvel, Executive Director of Columbia Riverkeeper.
The Cowlitz County Commission heard testimony on the proposal last week and postponed their decision until today.
Millenium executives say the Longview project would create 71 family-wage jobs and 120 construction jobs while generating nearly $5 million in tax revenue for county and state governments.