Millennium Bulk Logistics Longview Terminal
|This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of coal exports|
Millennium Bulk Logistics Longview Terminal is an existing alumina export terminal which is proposed to be modified to incorporate a new coal export facility and equipment for cement products imports and distribution. The terminal is located near Longview in Washington state. The company proposing the new facilities, Millennium Bulk Terminals (MBT), is a subsidiary of Ambre Energy, an Australian resources company.
The proposed coal export terminal is being opposed by environmental groups, which have filed a legal challenge against the county permit approving the project.
In November 2009 Cowlitz County approved Ambre Energy's proposal to establish a new 5 millions tonnes per annum export coal terminal. In its application MBT stated that the terminal would be used for alumina, coal and cement. The company proposes to remove an existing ship loader operated by the previous owner and upgrade the dock facilities. The company proposes to retain the existing alumina export equipment which catered for the nearby Longview Aluminum smelter which was formerly owned by Alcoa.
MBT stated that "new coal handling operations will include receipt of coal by rail and export of coal by marine vessel ... a new conveyor system will be installed on the existing dock for coal export via marine vessel and will include a series of belt conveyors and transfer towers for moving coal from the stockpile to the dock, and a new on-dock conveyor to move coal to a new purpose built ship loader. Ons ite rail infrastructure and offloading equipment with an extension to the existing rail system, new conveyor systems, and access and maintenance roads. A 525,000 square foot stockpile area will be created to store approximately 300,000 metric tons of coal, which will include a water collection and storage pond to collect runoff, stacker feed conveyors and a coal reclaim system." Early discussion of how many jobs the port would produce was roughly twenty total.
Internal e-mails show goal of 80 million tons of coal exports
According to internal Millennium Bulk Terminals e-mails disclosed on Feb. 24, 2011, the company hopes to export 80 million tons of coal through its proposed west of Longview terminal, nearly 15 times more than the company originally stated in its application for county permit. The revelation was contained in a Dec. 22, 2010 note from Ambre Energy CEO Edek Choros. The company initially announced the terminal would export 5.7 million tons annually. It followed release of internal company e-mails revealing that the company wanted Longview to be the West Coast's largest coal terminal. The e-mails and internal documents were released as part of an appeal of the port expansion to Washington state's Shoreline Hearings Board. The State Department of Ecology has joined the challenge. The state board is scheduled to hear the appeal in April 2011.
In January 2011 Arch Coal acquired a 38 percent interest in MBT "for $25 million plus additional consideration upon the completion of certain project milestones." Arch aims to commence exports through the new terminal in 2012. Arch are the first U.S. company to invest in the project which gives Arch control of nearly 2 million short tons of throughput capacity at the planned facility. Ambre Energy, the Australian-based parent company of Millennium, retained a 62% stake in the terminal.
In May 2011 Arch Coal announced that it was establishing a new subsidiary, Arch Coal Asia-Pacific Pte. Ltd., and named Renato Paladino president. A press release stated that Paladino will be responsible for Asia-Pacific regional business development, marketing and sales of thermal and metallurgical products, and regional supply chain expansion for the company. The new office will be located in Singapore.
Opposition to project
Environmentalists stated that they would oppose any such actions, arguing that coal contributes to pollution and global warming. Groups including the Sierra Club and Columbia Riverkeeper have vowed to stop the industry's expansion into Asia, a market currently dominated by coal from Australia and Indonesia.
On December 13, 2010, a coalition of conservation and clean energy groups, including Earthjustice, the Sierra Club, Climate Solutions, and Washington Environmental Council, challenged the permit Cowlitz County issued to allow MBT to build the coal export terminal. The groups stated that the facility would threaten public health and runs counter to state efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The groups argue that the county ignored consideration of issues such as the "consequences of burning coal in Asia", the effects of increased coal mining and transport and the effects of transporting the coal via ships to Asia.
"The county commission rubber-stamped the permit and ignored their duty to act in the best interest of the community," said Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman. According to Earthjustice, it was the first legal challenge to US exports on coal on the West Coast of the United States. "We expected an appeal, so we're not surprised," Joseph Cannon, chief executive officer of Millennium Bulk Logistics, the Ambre Energy subsidiary, said in a telephone interview after the appeal was filed.
In late December 2010 Washington state stated that officials in Washington state's Cowlitz County did not go far enough in evaluating greenhouse gas emissions from the proposed Longview port upgrade. Washington's Department of Ecology filed a motion on December 28, 2010 to intervene in an appeal of the county's decision to allow the upgrade. The department said it wanted to ensure its concerns about greenhouse gas emissions are adequately addressed. In a statement, the department said the county's environmental review should have analyzed greenhouse gas emissions more broadly.
The hearing before the Shoreline Hearings Board will be on April 11. Ahead of the hearing MBT have filed a document seeking the dismissal of the appeal on the grounds that the environmental groups don't have standing to sue and argued, according to the Wall Street Journal, that greenhouse-gas emissions and climate change from the burning of the coal are "geopolitical issues" beyond the jurisdictional scope of their appeal. "There's something troubling about a foreign corporation stating that Washington residents don't have access to Washington courts to enforce Washington laws to prevent harm from climate change." said Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman told the WSJ.
Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire, both Democrats, met on January 5, 2010 to discuss to proposed export terminal. Gov. Schweitzer stated that he believed that Washington state will give fair treatment to the proposal to build the terminal. The coal that would ship out of the facility would be mined in the Power River Basin of Montana and Wyoming.
March 2011: Protesters rally in Salt Lake against coal export plan
Rainforest Action Network along with Peaceful Uprising, Utah Moms for Clean Air and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers organized a 60 person rally in from of the office of coal exporter Ambre Energy asking them to stop their development of coal export facilities in Longview, Washington.
Jim Cooksey, a representative of the union, stated of the export plan:
“We are concerned about the exporting of coal to overseas markets in that there are no environmental standards once the coal leaves our borders. The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers understands the issue of climate change and is looking to secure alliances with other labor and environmental organizations to find solutions that protect workers and the environment.“
May 2011: Protests target banks in Portland, Oregon
On Friday, May 9th, 2011 two bank branches in downtown Portland, Oregon, one belonging to Bank of America and the other to Wells Fargo, were targeted by approximately 30 activists who showed up to protest the banks’ investments in coal projects. Both banks are major lenders to Arch Coal, the second biggest coal company in the United States. Arch Coal was targeted because, along with Ambre Energy, it is responsible for the proposed Millennium Bulk Logistics Longview Terminal near Longview, Washington. Arch Coal also owns the Otter Creek coal mine in Montana, which the company hopes to use as a source of coal to be exported.
Protesters assembled by Portland's Reed College entered the banks as mock coal export trains, which they believed will expose Northwest residents to coal dust, diesel fumes and noise pollution if the coal export facility near Longview becomes operational. A multi-car human ”coal train” entered the banks and marched around the bank's lobby, temporarily disrupting business inside. Climate activists chanted “Hey hey, B of A: Stop investing in coal today!” And later, “Hey hey, Wells Fargo: You say coal, we say no!”
September 2011: Activists shine a light on Washington Coal Ports in Seattle
In September 2011 activists in Seattle shined a spotlight with a mountain background that stated, "Keep Washington Beautiful, No Coal Exports." The group, including at least on RAN activist, shined the stenciled spotlight on iconic images around the city, including the Space Needle. The group said they were protesting the proposed coal export terminals in the state, including Millennium Bulk Logistics Longview Terminal in Longview and Gateway Pacific Terminal near Ferndale, Washington.
October 2011: Spokane environmentalists upset over coal trains
In October 2011 concerned environmental groups in the Spokane, Washington area held a public forum about coal trains in that are to travel through the area. The groups began speaking out about proposals that could see dozens of trains loaded with coal destined for Asia move through the city every day. The groups fear that coal dust and increased diesel emissions will damage human health, while increased rail traffic will make for more dangerous intersections. The Sierra Club was involved in raising public awareness and organizing the forum.
November 2011: 13 State Senators ask State to look at coal train impacts
In November 2011, 13 Washington State Senators wrote a joint letter to the Washington State DOE and Whatcom County. In their letter the senators point to potential problems including health related and adverse economic impacts that could be felt by the communities along the rail corridor which includes most of the states population. The senators explicitly request that the process examine these issues.
December 2011: Montana youth call for a week of anti-coal export actions
In December 2011, students at the University of Montana called for a week of actions against coal in Missoula to occur in February 2012. For the blog "It's Getting Hot in Here", Nick Engelfried wrote:
"We, youth climate activists at the University of Montana, are calling for a regional weekend of action to protect the greater Northwest from coal exports. The action will coincide with the weekend of Rocky Mountain Power Shift, February 17th-19th. That weekend, hundreds of youth climate activists will converge on the University of Montana campus to exchange success stories, hear from movement leaders, learn from each other, and take action to promote solutions to climate change.
"On Sunday, Feb 19th, we will march through downtown Missoula to protest an increase in coal exports (this action is not officially endorsed by Power Shift in any way). We will draw attention to key politicians and industries who are financing and pushing coal export proposals."
March 2012: Washington State City Council passes coal train traffic resolution
On March 17, 2012, Washougal City Council voted 7-0 to pass a resolution requesting that Washougal be a “party of record” for the Gateway Pacific Terminal Project in Whatcom county and the Millennium Project in Cowlitz county. The resolution requested that impacts along the rail line through Washougal be included in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and also urged the State Department of Ecology, the Army Cops of Engineers, as well as both Whatcom and Cowlitz counties, to conduct an EIS scoping hearing for each project in a Clark County location.
April 2012: Oregon Gov. calls for review of coal export impacts
In April 2012 Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber stated that he wants an extensive federal government review of exporting coal to Asia through Northwest ports. The Governor said that coal exports could clog barge and train routes, increase diesel and coal dust pollution and boost amounts of toxic mercury drifting back to Oregon when Asian countries burn the coal.
However, Kitzhaber didn't take a stand for or against exporting coal, which supporters say would increase rural jobs and tax revenues in Oregon and Washington. Instead, his letter asked the federal government to address how increasing exports to Asia will "fit with the larger strategy of moving to a lower carbon future."
May 2012: Activists rally in Portland against exporting coal from Northwest ports
On May 7, 2012 several hundred activists gathered in Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square to oppose the export of Montana and Wyoming coal from Northwest ports. Activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., chief prosecuting attorney for Hudson Riverkeeper and president of the Waterkeeper Alliance, spoke to the crowd. Kennedy said that coal would corrupt politicians, damage health and the environment and "turn government agencies into the sock puppets of the industries they're supposed to regulate."
May 2012: Seattle City Council opposes coal export ports
On May 29, 2012 the Seattle City Council unanimously passed a resolution opposing the development of coal-export terminals in Washington state after raising concerns about increased train traffic and potential harm to health and the environment.
May 2012: Washington state Democrats pass export resolutions
In May 2012 Democrats in Washington passed two resolutions on coal exports in the state. One, submitted by San Juan County, asked Democrats to oppose construction of the Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point. The second passed which called for a programmatic environmental impact statement to be conducted to study the potential impacts of building coal-exporting terminals throughout the Pacific Northwest, rather than one project-specific study looking at the Gateway Pacific Terminal project.
Millennium Bulk Terminals Delays Permit Application
In early March 2011 Millennium Bulk Terminals CEO Joe Cannon stated that the firm would withdraw consideration of the coal export proposal from its initial application and seek approval for it separately. It would also apply for a separate permit to export coal. "We're absolutely still committed to coal," Cannon said. "But it's clear there's been a lot of controversy. Our view is OK, we'll pull back and do an (environmental impact statement) that everyone can participate in, so everyone gets their full innings on the issue of coal."
Brett VandenHeuvel, Columbia Riverkeeper's executive director, dismissed the company's change of tack as a move to "try to fool the public and piecemeal this project. They're proposing to build the very same dock that would serve 1,000 coal ships per year. It's just more hiding the ball."
Timeline of Port Redevelopment Process
Groups file appeal to port approval
On December 13, 2010, a coalition of conservation and clean energy groups, including Earthjustice, the Sierra Club, Climate Solutions, and Washington Environmental Council, challenged a permit to build a coal export terminal in Longview, Washington, the Millennium Bulk Logistics Longview Terminal. The groups stated that the facility would threaten public health and runs counter to state efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
"The county commission rubber-stamped the permit and ignored their duty to act in the best interest of the community," said Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman.
According to Earthjustice, it was the first legal challenge to US exports on coal on the West Coast of the United States.
"We expected an appeal, so we're not surprised," Joseph Cannon, chief executive officer of Millennium Bulk Logistics, the Ambre Energy subsidiary, said in a telephone interview after the appeal was filed. A trial is set for April 2011.
Washington state intervenes in coal-export port upgrade appeal
In late December 2010 Washington state stated that officials in Washington state's Cowlitz County did not go far enough in evaluating greenhouse gas emissions from the proposed Longview port upgrade.
Washington's Department of Ecology filed a motion on December 28, 2010 to intervene in an appeal of the county's decision to allow the upgrade. The department said it wanted to ensure its concerns about greenhouse gas emissions are adequately addressed. In a statement, the department said the county's environmental review should have analyzed greenhouse gas emissions more broadly.
Montana and Washington Governors meet to discuss coal exports
Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire, both Democrats, met on January 5, 2010 to discuss to proposed export terminal on the lower Columbia River in Washington state. Gov. Schweitzer stated that he believed that Washington state will give fair treatment to the proposal to build the terminal. The coal that would ship out of the facility would be mined in the Power River Basin of Montana and Wyoming.
Arch Coal buys 38% stake in proposed Longview Port
On January 12, 2011, Arch Coal stated that it was going to buy a 38% ownership stake in the coal loading facility planned for Longview, Washington. As such, they are the first U.S. company to invest in the project. The $25 million stake in Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview, gives Arch control of nearly 2 million short tons of throughput capacity at the planned facility. Ambre Energy, the Australian-based parent company of Millennium, retained a 62% stake in the terminal.
Report released outlining risks and costs of Powder River Basin coal export expansion
A report released in January 2011 by the Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC) titled Exporting Power River Basin Coal: Risks and Costs laid out several negative environmental impacts from expanding PRB coal mines and exports.
First, WORC noted that an increase in greenhouse gas emissions would ultimately occur, contributing to global warming, stating that "Exporting 140 million tons a year would produce roughly 280 million tons of CO2 per year." Second, WORC wrote that a coal mining increase would impact the local environment and surrounding communities, citing in particular air quality degradation due to an increase in particulate matter and land and water strains.
WORC also reported that new rail lines would cause disruption to farm and ranch land and could negatively impact migratory animal corridors. More railways would also impact public safety with an increase in the potential for accidents. Diesel pollution would also increase because trucks and vehicle transportation would expand. Coal Dust was also noted as increasing due to mine expansions, which could cause harm to water and people.
Documents disclosure indicate that full scope of port plan not originally conveyed
In February 2011 it was revealed that the Millennium Bulk Logistics Longview Terminal, a subsidiary of Ambre Energy, attempted to limit what state officials in Washington state knew about its long-term goals during the early permitting process for a port development in Longview, Washington in 2010. The company's initial application stated that the port would be set up to export up to five million tons of coal annually. However, court records released as part of the discovery process in a lawsuit brought about by environmental groups showed that Millennium hoped to greatly expand their operation from five million to a second phase increase to 20 million tons or even 60 million tons annually. The finding indicated that the challenge to the port is likely to increase, Earthjustice, a group involved in the original challenge, filed a request to add the new documents to its appeal of the project permit.
According to internal Millennium Bulk Terminals e-mails disclosed on Feb. 24, 2011, the company hopes to export 80 million tons of coal through its proposed west of Longview terminal, nearly 15 times more than the company originally stated in its application for county permit.
Critics delay Millennium Bulk's Longview coal export development, company to resubmit permit application
On March 7, 2011 Millennium Bulk announced that it was removing its coal export and related infrastructure proposal from a pending shoreline development permit for a port in Longview, Washington. The company stated that it was going to do a thorough environmental impact statement with public input before proceeding with it plans to redevelop the port for coal exports. The company acknowledged its decision was largely based on the opposition to the company's plan to export coal. On March 15, 2011 Millennium Bulk stated that they would resubmit the state permit for the Longview port development after they conduct an environmental study of how much coal, cement and alumina the facility could handle at former Reynolds aluminum smelter site.
Port of Morrow coal terminal to ship coal barges to Longview, Washington port
On May 11, 2011, the Port of Morrow Commission approved a one-year lease option with Coyote Island Terminal LLC of Salt Lake City, Utah, to build a rail off-loading coal terminal on up to 24.26 acres to transfer the coal onto barges for shipment to the Millennium Bulk Logistics Longview Terminal in Washington, and on to customers in Asia.
Millennium is a unit of Ambre Energy, a closely held mining company based in Brisbane, Australia. The properties are adjacent to the land occupied by Pacific Ethanol and ZeaChem, which is building a cellulosic ethanol test plant.
Michael Klein and Everett King of Ambre Energy North America Inc. met with commissioners in a closed session right before the board unanimously approved the lease option. It calls for Coyote Island Terminal, a subsidiary of Ambre Energy, to pay the port $60,745 during the next year to secure the option. Klein said his company will use the next year to investigate what it can do with the site, saying the project is in a very early stage, so how much coal the company might ship and to what destinations are still to be determined. Ambre Energy’s website states: “It is Ambre Energy’s intention to establish one of the few coal export facilities on the west coast of North America to provide access to growing Asia-Pacific markets for U.S. thermal coal.”
Klein said his company hopes to ship unit trains of coal to the port from the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming. The typical coal train is 100 to 120 cars long — a mile of coal. Each hopper car holds 100 to 115 tons of coal, which lasts just 20 minutes fueling a power plant.
Groups sue Millennium over alleged Clean Water Act violations
On August 9, 2011 Vancouver and Longview citizen groups announced they are suing Millenium Bulk Logistics, the owner of a proposed coal terminal in Longview. The groups contended that Millennium Bulk Terminals is violating the Clean Water Act by handling coal without a permit.
The groups in the suit that Millennium did not obtain a proper permits for stormwater and wastewater disposal while handling coal, petcoke and other materials on the location of the proposed coal terminals. Millennium has been working on a cleanup of the Columbia River site since the beginning of the year.
Millennium inherited a giant pile of petcoke from the site's former tenant, Chinook Ventures.
- Joe Cannon, CEO of MBT
Articles and resources
Related SourceWatch articles
- Powder River Basin
- Montana and coal
- Wyoming and coal
- China and coal
- Washington (state) and coal
- Port of St. Helens
- Gateway Pacific Terminal
- Pacific International Terminals
- Coal terminals
- Coal Exports from Northwest United States Ports
Ambre media statements on the proposal
- Ambre Energy, "Ambre Energy completes acquisition of Port site in Longview, Washington", Media Release, January 13, 2011.
Environmental groups legal appeal
- Columbia Riverkeeper,