Stuff that matters

not-so-incredible bulk

Washington state has blocked plans for the nation’s biggest coal export terminal.

The Millennium Bulk Terminals project — proposed to be built in Longview, Washington, along the Columbia River — would have exported up to 44 million tons of coal a year from Montana and Wyoming to Asia.

Washington’s outgoing public lands commissioner, Peter Goldmark, refused to lease state aquatic lands for the project — perhaps inspired by the not-so-lame-duck moves of our outgoing president.

The terminal’s backers say they will keep trying to move forward, but opponents of the terminal believe this move will kill the project. It’s another stiff blow to the Northwest’s besieged fossil fuel industry; a number of other proposed fossil fuel export projects in the region have been killed in recent years.

The decision marks an auspicious start to climate action in 2017, as states take the lead in the face of a hostile incoming administration.

It’s also a remarkable win for local environmentalists and tribes, including the Swinomish Tribe, Yakama Nation, and Lummi Nation, who have been fighting coal exports. JoDe Goudy, chair of the Yakama Nation, said, “Today’s decision is indeed the final nail in the coffin of this project, but we must remain focused on projects that will continue to develop.”