Commissioner Franz Statement Hailing Court Ruling in Coal Terminal Suit
August 21, 2019
Appellate panel ruling says DNR acted appropriately to protect state’s aquatic lands
Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz this morning issued the following statement after the Washington Court of Appeals decision to uphold her agency’s denial of a sublease for the proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals’ coal export terminal in Longview:
“I applaud the court upholding my agency’s decision to not allow Millennium to use state property. The company repeatedly refused to comply with reasonable requests for information related to its proposal. Washington’s aquatic lands are too important to risk on projects that are not transparent and financially sound,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz.
“I’m committed to making sure Washington’s public lands are used to improve our state, now and well into the future. That means protecting our environment and our economy. Millennium’s proposed coal terminal does neither.”
Ruling Affirms DNR Decision
The Washington Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the Washington State Department of Natural Resources had the authority to consider the firm’s financial condition in its 2017 decision to deny a sublease for Millennium Bulk Terminals’ proposed coal terminal on the Columbia River.
The state had requested details about the structure of the agreement between Millennium and the primary leaseholder of the state aquatic property, Northwest Alloys. DNR also requested information about the firm’s financial integrity and the viability of international coal exports, but that information was not provided.
The three-judge Court of Appeals panel overturned a 2017 Cowlitz County Superior Court ruling that DNR’s decision to deny the sublease to Millennium was “arbitrary and capricious.”
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