Company sues Washington state for blocking coal exports to Asia – by Valerie Volcovici (Reuters U.S. – January 3, 2018)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A company that plans to build a coal export terminal in the Pacific Northwest to ship western U.S. coal to Asian markets sued the state of Washington on Wednesday for blocking construction last year.

Lighthouse Resources Inc filed a lawsuit in federal court against Washington Governor Jay Inslee and two state regulators for allegedly violating the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause by denying permits to allow the company to ship coal mined in Wyoming, Montana and other western states through its proposed Millennium Bulk Terminal to clients in Japan and South Korea.

Lighthouse Resources’ complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, claims that state regulators “unreasonably” refused to process permits to develop a site on the Columbia River where an existing Washington state lease allows coal exports.

The governor’s office confirmed it received the filing and is reviewing it but cannot address pending litigation, said spokeswoman Tara Lee.

Washington state’s Department of Ecology denied a key water quality permit for the Millennium Coal Terminal, blocking what would be the largest coal export terminal in the United States. The agency said the export terminal would cause environmental harm in nine areas, from air quality to vessel traffic.

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