Millennium Bulk Logistics Longview Terminal

From Global Energy Monitor

Millennium Bulk Logistics Longview Terminal was an alumina export terminal located near Longview in Washington state. In 2009, Millennium Bulk Terminals (MBT) proposed to modify the terminal to include a new coal export facility and equipment for cement products imports and distribution.[1]

The terminal proposal would have had the capacity to handle 44 million metric tons of coal annually.[2] The proposed coal terminal was opposed by environmental groups, which filed legal challenges against the county permit approving the project.[3][4]

In September 2017 the state of Washington denied a key water quality permit for the project,[5] which began a string of legal defeats for Millennium that culminated with the US Supreme Court refusing to hear an appeal on the case.[6] Millennium's parent company went bankrupt in 2020.[7] The failure to secure permits and the bankruptcy mean that the project is dead.

The Millennium Bulk Logistics Longview Terminal is one of nine proposed coal terminals in the Pacific Northwest that has been cancelled since 2010.


The proposed terminal would be near Longview in Washington state.

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Project Details

  • Sponsor: Millenium Bulk Terminals
  • Parent company: Resource Capital Funds (100% ownership, as of May 2016)
  • Location: near Longview in Washington state
  • Proposed Capacity (Million tonnes per annum): 44
  • Status: Cancelled
  • Type: Exports
  • Cost:
  • Financing:


In November 2009 Cowlitz County approved Ambre Energy's proposal to establish a new 5 millions tonnes per annum export coal terminal.[8] 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.[9]

Proposed Northwest Coal Export Locations.

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."[9] Early discussion of how many jobs the port would produce was roughly twenty total.[10]

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.[11]

Final application

The application under environmental review, as of 2014, was for a facility that would ultimately have the capacity to handle 44 million metric tons of coal annually.[12]

Environmental Impacts Review

The draft Environmental Impact Statement and public comments can be viewed here.

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.[13] 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."[8]

It was announced in early October 2012 that a joint environmental review of the proposed coal port would be conducted by Cowlitz County, the Washington Department of Ecology and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.[14] As of October 2013 agencies seeking input on environmental reviews for export terminal proposal held public meetings on the proposed terminal.[15] The review generated more than 163,000 public comments for regulators, to be considered in the draft and final EIS.[16]

In February 2014 state and local regulators said the environmental review will consider impacts that extend beyond the site, including global-warming effects from burning the exported coal in Asia and rail impacts as coal is shipped by train throughout the state. The announcement was seen as a victory for project opponents, who said the decision ensures that concerns over coal dust, greenhouse-gas emissions and rail traffic are addressed.[17]

The final EIS is expected in 2016.[18]

On April 29, 2016, Cowlitz County and the Washington State Department of Ecology made the Draft EIS available for review and comment. The report found the terminal could have “significant and adverse” impact on the climate, and the combustion of coal from the terminal could generate annually as much carbon pollution as 672,000 cars.[19]

Failure to Secure Permits

On January 3, 2017, Outgoing Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark announced he had rejected a request from Northwest Alloys to sublease the state's aquatic lands to Millennium Bulk Terminals for the project. Goldmark said Millennium had refused to provide basic information about its finances following the bankruptcy of its previous owner, Arch Coal, last year.[20]

In July 2017 the project received a wetlands permit. It is one of 23 permits the project needs to begin construction.[21]

In September 2017 the state of Washington denied a water quality permit to Millennium Bulk Terminals, saying its proposed facility would have caused "significant and unavoidable harm" to the environment. The department cited impacts to air quality, noise pollution and tribal resources, among other areas.[22] The state also denied two shorelines permits. Without these permits, the project was unable to succeed.[7]

Throughout 2018 and 2019, Millennium made multiple legal appeals for permitting decision to be reversed. The courts repeatedly sided with the state of Washington and rejected Millennium's appeals.[23] In June 2021, the US Supreme Court chose not to hear the final appeal in the Millennium Bulk Terminals case, “signaling the official end of the project,” according to environmental activism groups.[6]


In January 2021, Lighthouse Resources, the parent company of Millennium Bulk Terminal, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Its sublease for the site of the terminal was transferred to its original owner, Alcoa. Because the coal terminal never got the permits it needed to operate, Millennium was subleasing the property to four companies, including Octavus Storage, a car storage company, and Triumph Aerospace, an airplane parts company. These operations were expected to continue once Alcoa reclaimed the lease. [7]


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.[24] 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.[25]

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.[26]

In November 2014 Ambre Energy sold its U.S. assets to Resource Capital Funds for US$18 million, including Ambre's stake in the Millennium Bulk Terminals Longview project. Resource Capital Funds, which describes itself as a "a mining focused private equity firm," will retain 62 percent ownership in Longview, and Arch Coal 38 percent.[27]

In May 2016 Arch Coal gave its 38% share in the proposed Millennium Terminal to the project’s last remaining supporter, Lighthouse Resources (previously known as Ambre Energy North America), which in turn is owned by Resource Capital Funds. Arch had declared bankruptcy in January 2016, and got no money in return for “selling” its interest in the coal terminal.[28]

When Lighthouse Resources went bankrupt in January 2021, the sublease for the Millennium Bulk Terminal site reverted back to its original owner, Alcoa.[7]

Opposition to project

Environmentalists stated that they would oppose any such actions, arguing that coal contributes to pollution and global warming.[29] 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.[30]

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.[31]

Coalition Protests Ambre Energy's Push for Coal Exports.

"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.[32]

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.[33]

Coal Export Threatens the Northwest.

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.[34]

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.[35]


Coal Train Visits Bank of America.

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.“[36]

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, then 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!”[37]

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.[38]

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.[39] The Sierra Club was involved in raising public awareness and organizing the forum.[40]

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."[41]

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."[42]

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.[43]

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.[43]

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.[44]

Government Response

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.[45]

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.[46]

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."[47]

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.[48]

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.[49]

Articles and resources

Related articles

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  1. Ambre Energy, "Ambre Energy completes acquisition of Port site in Longview, Washington", Media Release, January 13, 2011.
  2. "Millennium Bulk Terminals – Longview: Cowlitz County, Ecology, and the Corps are in the process of preparing a NEPA EIS and a SEPA EIS," Millennium EIS, accessed July 2014.
  3. "Extended meeting times, ground rules for meetings announced by agencies seeking input on environmental reviews for export terminal proposal" Washington Dept. of Ecology, September 6, 2013.
  4. "Thousands weigh in on plan for coal terminal in Longview" Phuong Le, Associated Press, November 18, 2013.
  5. "Washington state rejects permit for coal-terminal project," AP, Sep 26, 2017
  6. 6.0 6.1 Marissa Heffernan, U.S. Supreme Court chooses not to hear Millennium Bulk Terminals case, The Daily News, June 28, 2021
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Marissa Heffernan, Millennium parent company files for Chapter 11, Columbia River site land goes back to Alcoa, The Daily News, Jan. 19, 2021
  8. 8.0 8.1 Scott Learn, "Cowlitz County approves permits to export coal to Asia from port in Longview, Wash.", The Oregonian, November 23, 2010.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Cowlitz Country, "Modified Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance", November 9, 2010, page 1.
  10. "Strategic withdrawal for Longview coal exporter" Joel Connelly, Seattle Post Intelligencer, March 15, 2011.
  11. Eric Olson, "Millennium internal e-mail reveals goal of 80 million tons in annual coal exports" TDN, Feb. 24, 2011.
  12. "Millennium Bulk Terminals – Longview: Cowlitz County, Ecology, and the Corps are in the process of preparing a NEPA EIS and a SEPA EIS," Millennium EIS, accessed July 2014.
  13. Scott Learn, "Millennium Bulk Terminals says it won't pursue exporting coal out of Longview -- for now", The Oregonian, March 7, 2011.
  14. "Longview proposed coal export terminal to have joint environmental review" The Oregonian, October 9, 2012.
  15. "Extended meeting times, ground rules for meetings announced by agencies seeking input on environmental reviews for export terminal proposal" Washington Dept. of Ecology, September 6, 2013.
  16. "Thousands weigh in on plan for coal terminal in Longview" Phuong Le, Associated Press, November 18, 2013.
  17. "Proposed coal terminal near Longview faces broad review," Seattle Times, Feb 12, 2014.
  18. "Ecology explains Millennium coal study delay," TDN, Oct 16, 2015
  19. "Pollution from Longview coal terminal could equal 672,000 cars, study says," Seattle Times, Apr 29, 2016
  20. "Washington state denies sublease for coal export terminal," Centre Daily Times, Jan 3, 2017
  21. "1 Permit Down, 22 to Go for Long-Proposed U.S. West Coast Coal-Export Terminal," IEEFA, July 25, 2017
  22. "Washington state rejects permit for coal-terminal project," AP, Sep 26, 2017
  23. Millennium Bulk Terminals Longview, Washington Department of Ecology, Accessed Sep. 26, 2021
  24. Arch Coal, "Arch Coal Acquires Equity Interest in West Coast Terminal", Media Release, January 12, 2011.
  25. Peter Gartrell, "Arch Coal buys 38% stake in West Coast port to ship coal to Asia",, January 12, 2011.
  26. "Arch Coal Establishes Asia-Pacific Subsidiary, Names Paladino President" PR Newswire, May 9, 2011.
  27. "Ambre Energy sells North American assets in bid to save coal ports," Star Tribune, Dec 8, 2014
  28. Clark Williams-Derry, "Arch Coal backs out of Longview export terminal," The Daily Score‎, May 27, 2016
  29. Scott Learn, "Mining companies aim to export coal to China through Northwest ports", Oregonian, September 8, 2010.
  30. Matthew Brown & Phuonge Le, "Coal Industry Seeks to Export Through Wash. State", Associated Press, November 16, 2010.
  31. "Riverkeeper and Allies Challenge Permit Allowing Dirty Coal Export to Asia", Columbia Riverkeeper website, accessed February 2011.
  32. "Groups fight decision allowing Asia coal exports" Phuong Le, Seattle Times, December 13, 2010.
  33. "WA intervenes in coal-export port upgrade appeal", Associated Press, December 28, 2010.
  34. Joel Millman and Kris Maher, "Coal Port Takes Its Lumps: Critics Say Exports Would Hurt China's Air; Backers Cite Expected Jobs Boost", Wall Street Journal, February 4, 2011.
  35. "Montana, Washington governors discuss coal exports" Associated Press, January 5, 2011.
  36. "Protesters rally in SLC against coal-export plan" Brandon Loomis, Salt Lake Tribune, March 22, 2011.
  37. "Coal Train Visits Bank of America and Wells Fargo" Nick Englefried, It's Getting Hot in Here, May 15, 2011.
  38. "Activists Shine A Light On Washington Coal Ports" The Understory, RAN, September 15, 2011.
  39. "Enviro groups upset about coal trains" Associated Press, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, October 26, 2011.
  40. "Group urging Spokane opposition to coal ports" Becky Kramer, The Spokesman-Review, October 26, 2011.
  41. "Montana Youth Call for a Weekend of Action Against Coal Exports" Nick Engelfried, It's Getting Hot in Here, December 12, 2011.
  42. "Kennedy, activists rally in Portland against exporting coal from Northwest ports" Scott Learn, Oregonian, May 7, 2012.
  43. 43.0 43.1 "Exporting Power River Basin Coal: Risks and Costs", Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC), January 2011.
  44. "Groups sue Millennium over alleged Clean Water Act violations" Erik Olson,, August 9, 2011.
  45. "13 State Senators ask State/Whatcom to expand SEPA Scope" Community Wise Bellingham, November 7, 2011.
  46. "Increased Coal Train traffic spurs resolution by Washougal City Council" Martha Martin, Silver Star Reporter, March 18, 2012.
  47. "Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber calls for sweeping review of planned coal exports from Northwest ports" Scott Learn, The Oregonian, April 25, 2012.
  48. "Seattle City Council opposes coal-export ports" Phoung Lee, Associated Press, May 30, 2012.
  49. "At state convention, Democrats pass resolutions on coal-exporting terminals" Jared Paben, Bellingham Herald, June 4, 2012.

External resources

Ambre media statements on the proposal

Environmental groups legal appeal

  • Columbia Riverkeeper, [1]

External articles