Energy | Ecotrope

Gregoire on coal export terminal: No shortcuts

Ecotrope | Jan. 5, 2011 1:59 a.m. | Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 1:42 p.m.

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A coal-export facility got approval from Cowlitz County to set up shop at a private dock in Longview, Wash. But environmental groups have appealed the decision, and now the Montana governor is worried the state of Washington might block the project.

A coal-export facility got approval from Cowlitz County to set up shop at a private dock in Longview, Wash. But environmental groups have appealed the decision, and now the Montana governor is worried the state of Washington might block the project.

OPB’s Tom Banse got Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire’s response to criticism from Montana officials that her state is standing in the way of a coal-export facility in Longview. Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer is headed to Washington today to visit the export terminal site, meet the Cowlitz County commissioners who approved the site for development and give Gregoire a piece of his mind.

Schweitzer and others in Montana are worried Washington will use state rules on greenhouse gas emissions to stall or block the export terminal, which would allow Australian company Ambre Energy to ship Montana and Wyoming coal to China.

Banse reports that Gregoire told Schweitzer she will “not get in the way of it,” but that the state won’t take shortcuts in its review of the project, either: “So we’re going to go through the process,” Gregoire said. “We’re going to live by the law of the state of Washington. He needs to be a little more patient.”

Environmental groups have appealed the Cowlitz County approval for the project, arguing there wasn’t enough consideration of the environmental impacts – including greenhouse gas emissions from transporting the coal and burning it in China. The state of Washington will have to sign off on other permits for the project, and recently intervened in the appeal to keep a close watch on its outcome.

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