Coal company loses appeal of water quality permit denial

August 15, 2018 (Olympia, WA)—Today, the Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB) affirmed the Department of Ecology’s denial of a necessary water quality permit for Millennium, a coal company whose proposed coal shipping terminal on the Columbia River has already met several permitting roadblocks. In 2017, Ecology denied Millennium’s application to build the largest coal shipping terminal in North America in Longview, Washington based on the unavoidable impacts to clean water, clean air, and public health. The PCHB decision affirms that Ecology acted validly to protect the water, land, air, and people of Washington from harm.

“Millennium struck out again,” said Kristen Boyles, an Earthjustice attorney representing the conservation groups in this case. “The Board upheld Ecology’s permit denial, agreeing that the agency did the right thing, followed state law, and considered all impacts.”

“Today’s ruling affirms that the Department of Ecology could not close its eyes to the broad harms and risks that would be caused by Millennium’s coal terminal,” said Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky, co-director of the Power Past Coal coalition and senior organizer for Columbia Riverkeeper. “Millennium’s attempt to block Washington’s right to protect public health and the environment has been thwarted again. It is time to close the coal terminal chapter and protect the health of local communities, our waterways, and our climate.”

“We are pleased that the Board has upheld the ability of the state to protect our waterways and health of our communities,” said Rebecca Ponzio, Climate and Fossil Fuel Program Director for Washington Environmental Council. “Coal is undeniably dangerous to our region, and we will continue to stand strong and fight for a healthy environment for all Washingtonians.”

“This is another failed attempt by Millennium to circumvent vital health and community protection standards,” said Ryan Rittenhouse, Conservation Organizer with Friends of the Columbia Gorge. “The people of the Pacific Northwest will not allow our communities and natural treasures, like the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, to be sacrificed for an unnecessary and destructive coal terminal.”

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Washington Environmental Council, Climate Solutions, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Sierra Club, and Columbia Riverkeeper, represented by Earthjustice, intervened and joined the Department of Ecology as defendants in this case.

Power Past Coal is an ever-growing alliance of health, environmental, clean-energy, faith and community groups and businesses working to stop coal export off the West Coast. Powerpastcoal.org @powerpastcoal

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