Environmental groups will have a seat at the table in Millennium Bulk Terminals’ legal battle with the state Department of Ecology. Cowlitz County Superior Court Judge Michael Evans Wednesday granted five environmental groups’ request to formally join the lawsuit as intervenors in support of Ecology.
Millennium is suing Ecology over its denial of a water quality certification for its proposed $680 million Longview coal dock. Evans’ decision Wednesday means the environmental groups will now be listed as parties in the case who can file briefs, motions, appeals and other actions.
The intervenors include five groups in the Power Past Coal Coalition: Washington Environmental Council, Climate Solutions, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Sierra Club and Columbia Riverkeeper.
Three of these groups also intervened to support the state Department of Natural Resources in another suit involving Millennium over an aquatic lands sublease.
“We’re going to be involved in all of these cases. Millennium is frantically trying to get some court to grant it a permit, and we think those permits should not be granted,” said Kristen Boyles, attorney with the law firm Earthjustice, which is representing the Power Past Coal Coalition.
“We’re going to continue to intervene to oppose it because it’s a bad idea for Longview and the state of Washington,” Boyles said.
Separately, Millennium also filed a lawsuit against Ecology in Thurston County Superior Court Monday over the department’s allegedly slow and incomplete response to public records requests. That same day, the coal developer also filed an appeal to the Shoreline Hearings Board arguing the Cowlitz County Hearings Examiner acted outside of his authority when he denied two shoreline permits for the project.
The project, which would generate 135 permanent jobs and 1,000 construction jobs, has been involved in permitting for five years. It needs 23 state, local and federal permits before construction.