Fox Touring Site of Proposed Export Terminal in Washington Today
Montana Attorney General Tim Fox has been invited to tour the site of a proposed coal export terminal in Longview, Washington. The tour will take place today. Millennium Bulk Terminals on the Columbia River has proposed an expansion to include a terminal for loading Montana coal onto vessels bound for overseas markets. Labor union representatives and community leaders will brief Fox on the benefits that port expansion will bring to local workers and the economy.
“As the International Energy Agency and the U.S. Energy Information Administration have shown, overseas demand for coal will continue to increase in the long term,” Fox said. “One-third of the nation’s coal reserves are right here in our state, and it only makes sense to increase our access to markets to help meet that demand. Doing so will benefit Montana’s economy and generate revenue to fund vital public services, infrastructure, and our public schools.”
In 2013, Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming urged state and federal regulators in Washington to adopt a legally sound scope for the proposed terminal’s environmental impact statement. Fox pointed out that the scope of review for a similar proposed terminal at Cherry Point was unrealistically broad, included speculative impacts, required an impossible assessment of foreign environmental impacts, and was seemingly designed to hinder development of the terminal.
“Montanans not only have a vested economic interest in the construction of the Longview terminal, but as I told regulators in 2013, we also have interstate commerce rights under the U.S. Constitution,” Fox emphasized today. “Ultimately, it’s a matter of fairness—just as Montana’s regulators don’t place unreasonable and unconstitutional restrictions on Washington’s goods coming through our state, so should Washington’s regulators refrain from placing such hindrances on ours.”
The Montana Chamber of Commerce, the chairman of the Crow Indian Tribe, and a leader in the Boilermakers Union who is also a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe highlighted the benefits the terminal would bring to Montana.
“Increasing export capacity is an economic benefit for both Washington and Montana,” said Glenn Oppel, government affairs director for the Montana Chamber of Commerce. “And this issue goes beyond coal—other Montana commodities such as grain can be exported through this proposed facility.”
“Access to markets beyond the U.S. is vital to the economic survival of the Crow Tribe,” said Chairman Darrin Old Coyote. “Our Absaloka Mine is the largest private employer on the reservation and provides crucial income benefitting Crow Tribal elders, health care, education, and law enforcement. I am thankful that Attorney General Fox has been invited to tour the export terminal site and to share our concerns with representatives of the Longview community.”
“Montana Indian tribes own large amounts of useable energy resources,” said Jason Small, a leader in the Boilermakers Union and member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. “These resources are currently supporting hundreds of jobs and have the potential to continue to support economic activity on reservations that wouldn’t otherwise be available. New export capacity would directly allow more Indian-owned coal to be mined, and increase the opportunities that many tribal members desperately need.”