Washington state terminates coal terminal project

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SEATTLE — Railroad managers who may have wanted to serve a new, large West Coast coal export terminal have been dealt a blow as the Washington State Department of Ecology vetoed a key permit to the project's lead company.

Millennium Bulk Terminals intended to build the terminal at the Port of Longview on the Columbia River at Longview, Wash. However, the state agency would not give consent as its development would have caused significant and unavoidable harm to the local environment, the Associated Press reports. The department cited adverse effects to air quality, increased noise pollution, and tribal resources, among others. The intention of the terminal planners was to export coal from the western U.S. to Asia.

While coal dust from trains was not a major concern, diesel exhaust from locomotives would raise the cancer risk for one low-income neighborhood, the board said.

Residents also would see more noise and traffic delays at rail crossings as at full capacity the project would add 16 more trains through the area. BNSF Railway would have been the coal terminal's primary railroad.

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