In the 2010s, U.S. companies, eager to meet Asia’s growing demand for coal with exports from Wyoming and Montana’s Powder River Basin, proposed six coal terminals in the Northwest. One in Longview, Washington, would ship about 44 million metric tons per year. Anti-fossil-fuel activists protested, and five of the proposals were dropped.
In late September, the sixth terminal proposal, Longview, was stymied when the Washington Department of Ecology denied a water quality permit, citing “unavoidable and negative environmental impacts,” potential traffic congestion and health hazards. Proponents of the $650 million project, which would have handled 16 mile-long trains per day, said the regulatory bar was too high. Activists were elated. “While this fight continues in British Columbia, these victories against exporting coal show the world we need to look forward, not backwards,” said Eileen Quigley, director of Clean Energy Transition.