Photo: Dustin Bleizeffer/WyoFile
Longview coal terminal plans more dire with
Longview, WA — Arch Coal, Inc. has asked Montana Department of Environmental Quality to suspend all work on their permit application for the Otter Creek Mine, and is closing their Otter Creek Coal offices. Arch Coal’s announcement follows the company declaring bankruptcy in January. Arch Coal owns a 38% interest in the proposed Millennium Bulk Logistics coal export facility in Longview, Wash., approximately enough to match the proposed output of the Otter Creek mine. The market for Powder River Basin coal in Asia has cratered since that time, leaving Arch and other major coal mining companies struggling to cover debts from bets made on Asian exports.
In the face of a permanent decline in domestic coal consumption, and with China, the world’s top coal consumer, reporting a significant decline in the demand for coal, the prospects for U.S. coal exports is even more dire.
Les Anderson, Vice President of Landowners and Citizens for a Safe Community in Longview, WA said, “Arch Coal and Millennium are dragging down our industrial waterfront with a coal export project that’s never going to happen. It’s been six years and all we’ve seen is from the coal industry is company lies and bankruptcy. Arch Coal and Millennium are standing in the way of real economic progress for Longview. ”
Dawson Dunning, a Northern Plains member whose family has ranched on Otter Creek for over a century, said, “the writing was on the wall. It was only a matter of time before this project collapsed. All of us in Montana are fortunate that it collapsed before this gigantic mine opened up and a productive ranching valley was destroyed.”
Vanessa Braided Hair, Northern Cheyenne and co-founder of the grassroots organization ecoCheyenne, said, “A major victory for our homelands, the people and future generations. Arch Coal’s permanent removal of their permit application means there is hope, hope for our people and our Cheyenne way of life. At this time, with deep appreciation and gratitude we reflect on all the hard work and prayers for our homelands and Cheyenne people.”
Kate McBride, City Councilmember from Hood River, OR, said, “What happens in Wyoming with coal has impacts here in the gorge given the coal companies’ last-gasp plans to export that coal abroad. The demise of Arch Coal’s plan to develop the Otter Creek mine means the plans to export coal through our Northwest communities are even more likely going nowhere. The City of Hood River opposes coal export terminal proposals as these would pollute the Columbia River with coal and impact our residents’ health, safety, and the local economy. We can do better,” said McBride.
POWER PAST COAL is an ever-growing alliance of health groups, businesses and environmental, clean-energy, faith and community organizations working to stop coal export off the West Coast. Visit www.powerpastcoal.org for more information.