State rejects lease plans related to coal-export terminal

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A state agency has rejected a request to use state-owned aquatic lands for a major coal-export terminal along the Columbia River.

The Department of Natural Resources nixed a proposal Wednesday by Northwest Alloys, which holds a lease with the state, to make construction changes related to the Millennium Bulk Terminal-Longview project in Longview.

Northwest Alloys submitted the request in August months after DNR shot down its request to sublease the state’s lands to Millennium. Northwest Alloys and Millennium have appealed that decision and a Cowlitz County judge is hearing arguments Friday.

Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz told Northwest Alloys in a letter Wednesday that it is in the state’s best interest to deny the request at this time. She cited several factors including that the state Department of Ecology’s denied the project a water quality permit.

Millennium President Bill Chapman said as of Wednesday evening he had not received any notice from the DNR but said after obtaining the letter from a journalist that with further discussion they will resubmit the plans as the letter specifies.

The company on Tuesday sued Ecology, arguing regulators unfairly denied the project the water quality permit.