Judge sides with developers of Washington coal terminal

MGN
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Longview, Wash. - A judge says Washington state's Department of Natural Resources acted arbitrarily when it blocked a sublease sought by developers of a massive proposed coal-export terminal in southwest Washington.

Cowlitz County Superior Court Judge Stephen Warning's ruling Friday overturned a decision made by outgoing Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark early this year. Goldmark had denied permission for the Millennium Bulk Terminals project to use docks at a former aluminum smelter along the Columbia River, saying Millennium hadn't provided enough information about its finances.

Nevertheless, the $680 million project remains blocked by other decisions which the company is appealing. One is the state Ecology Department's decision last month to deny a water quality permit; another is DNR's decision to deny it a site plan.

The facility would export up to 44 million tons of coal from Montana, Wyoming and other states to Asia.