Millennium Bulk Terminals

From Global Energy Monitor

Millennium Bulk Terminals (MBT) is a subsidiary of Ambre Energy, an Australian resources company. MBT owns an existing bulk commodity terminal on the Columbia River near Longview, Washington which it is seeking approval to use for the export of coal.[1]

Proposed Northwest Coal Export Locations.

In its application to Cowlitz County for permission to establish an export terminal, MBT stated that the terminal would be used for alumina, coal and cement and would be named the Millennium Bulk Logistics Longview Terminal.[2] After citizen protests, Millenium withdrew its permit.[3]

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."[4]

Longview terminal

In 2010, Millennium requested a shoreline permit to operate a multipurpose export and import facility on the 416-acre site of a former Alcoa aluminum plant, next to a deepwater shipping channel and Weyerhaeuser paper mill. Among the commodities Millennium said it planned to ship was 5.7 million tons of coal annually. The company agreed to comply with a list of conditions drawn up by the Cowlitz County commissioners to mitigate the environmental impact of the project, and in November 2010 the permit was approved.

Coal Export Threatens the Northwest.

Three weeks after approval of the permit, a group of environmental organizations, including Earthjustice and the Columbia Riverkeeper, filed an appeal. They argued that the county commissioners had interpreted their mandate too narrowly and should have taken into account the entire life-cycle impact of the coal that would be shipped, including the overall carbon dioxide emissions produced when used in Asia. The Washington Department of Ecology agreed and said it would intervene in the case.

The discovery process offered a confidential overview of the project, in which Millennium expressed how difficult it had been to find a suitable site. The major publicly owned ports -- Portland, Seattle, Kalama, Tacoma -- had all said no to the coal terminal. One message stressed that to sell the project to the state and the county commissioners, "the port should be referred to as a bulk materials handling port and not as 'primarily a coal port.'" The true intent, in fact, was "in the short and medium term [to] develop a 20mtpa [million tons per annum] coal terminal. This will be the largest coal terminal on the U.S. West Coast…. In the longer term Ambre plans to develop a 60mtpa coal terminal" -- more than 10 times the amount offered to Longview commissioners. Another e-mail stressed the importance of not informing the public: "We are at too sensitive a juncture to raise the plans…[T]he risk to the current permit path is too large."

After the revelations and protests, Millennium withdrew its application. Yet in January 2011, as the appeal was under way, Arch Coal laid out $25 million for a 38 percent stake in the Longview project.[5]

In February 2012 Millennium Bulk Terminals reapplied for permits for 44 million tons of coal from Wyoming and Montana.[6]

EIS Review to be prepared for Longview coal port proposal

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.[7]


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  1. Ambre Energy, "Ambre Energy completes acquisition of Port site in Longview, Washington", Media Release, January 13, 2011.
  2. Cowlitz Country, "Modified Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance", November 9, 2010, page 1.
  3. George Black, "Coal on a Roll" OnEarth, Aug. 24, 2011.
  4. Arch Coal, "Arch Coal Acquires Equity Interest in West Coast Terminal", Media Release, January 12, 2011.
  5. George Black, "Coal on a Roll" OnEarth, Aug. 24, 2011.
  6. "Company Applies For Permit To Export Coal From Longview Port" Cassandra Profita, Oregon Public Broadcasting, February 24, 2012.
  7. "Longview proposed coal export terminal to have joint environmental review" The Oregonian, October 9, 2012.

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