Washington state in legal battle with 6 states after it refuses to build coal export terminal

Washington blocks landlocked states from shipping cargo out of their terminal; Dan Springer reports from Seattle on the environmental dispute headed for federal court.

A lawsuit has pitted six landlocked states against Washington State over a simple question: Who owns the federal ports?

Washington State is denying the states the permits required to build a large coal export terminal along the Columbia River. The states have sued and Washington filed a motion for dismissal.

But U.S. District Court Judge Robert Bryan rejected Washington States motion, setting the stage for a legal showdown over who really gets final say over which products flow through the nations sea ports.

Were talking about the Constitution and the rule of law, said Montana Attorney General Tim Fox, One state cant discriminate against another states commodities in this way.

Montana and Wyoming are leading plaintiffs and two of the largest coal-producing states in the country. The Powder River Basin contains 2.5 billion tons of recoverable coal and currently supplies 40 percent of the coal used in the United States. But as many states wean themselves off of electricity from burning coal, coal companies are looking to boost exports, primarily to Asia. But they have a major problem: there are no ports along the West Coast currently set up to load coal onto ships.

Four other states, Kansas, Utah, South Dakota and Nebraska, have joined the lawsuit against Washington State.

The Millennium Bulk Terminal, proposed for the....

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