Montana joins lawsuit over state coal export terminals

Photo of coal: Pixabay

Montana has joined a lawsuit over Washington state coal export terminals.

Montana and five other states have filed an Amicus Brief against Washington state concerning a permit to expand a port facility in the city of Longview for the purpose of exporting coal and coal products, primarily to Asia.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox claims that Washington state has violated the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. Fox says an individual state cannot prohibit commodities from another state from being marketed through their coastal cities. He says that violates the constitution. Fox believes Montana and the other states involved in this lawsuit will be vindicated and the constitution upheld.

There are many debates over climate change and how coal impacts the environment, but Fox says Washington state cannot dictate the permitting process of coal terminals. He says environmental groups have proposed other terminals through the Gulf of Mexico and the East Coast. But since there are no coal terminals in those areas, it is not practical to export coal to Asia through those areas.

"The State of Montana, the State of Wyoming, and the other states are seeking to protect the Constitution and the rule of law. And we'll leave the debate on such things, important things, as climate change for Congress to tackle," said Fox.

The federal court has denied Washington state's request to have the case dismissed.