The proposed coal terminal for Cherry Point could be dead in the water after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied a needed permit Monday, May 9.

The Corps ruled the project would impact the treaty-protected fishing rights of Lummi Nation.

Lummi members cheered the announcement as it was made Monday morning in Lummi Indian Business Council chambers.

“With that, I want to acknowledge the hard work and leadership taken on behalf of all tribal leaders here,” Lummi Chairman Tim Ballew told those gathered. “We wouldn’t have been able to do it without you. Today is a good day. Today definitely is a good day.”

The decision was a major blow to SSA Marine, which has 51 percent ownership of the estimated $700 million project. Last month it had suspended work on an environmental review while it awaited the decision.

The project has been heatedly debated in Whatcom County for years, with backers citing the needed living-wage jobs and opponents decrying the increased train traffic and pollution it would bring.

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