The Seattle Times is reporting a decision by Cloud Peak Energy and SSA Marine to pause work on the Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Cherry Point coal terminal. The reason cited is that the companies are waiting for an Army Corps decision on whether to allow or deny permission to build. The Corps is considering the concerns of the Lummi Nation.
Efforts today to reach media representatives for both companies have not yet received a response. The Seattle Times article has the most information on this.
As NWCitizen reported last week, the Army Corps was expected to announce at the end of March that the permit would be denied. A frantic and panic stricken letter to the U.S. Department of Defense by U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke, the only Representative from Montana, is a possible the reason the Corps held off their announcement. The following day the Bellingham Herald ran a headline countering the NWCitizen story (without naming NWCitizen) saying there would be no decision in March. Fine; today is not March. It is April 1 - and it sounds like the coal proponents are saying something like, “You can't fire me; I quit.” No doubt there was communication over the past few days between the proponents and the Corps.
I think it safe to suggest the coal port is a dead deal - just like Peter Kiewit and Chicago Bridge and Iron in past decades were far-fetched corporate efforts to expoit and wreck Cherry Point. It is time for our county to evaluate possible good uses of that area. And the agency that should do that is the Port of Bellingham. More on this another time.
This project is a bust for several reasons: the dramatic decline in the coal industry, the efforts of the environmental movement, and China's attempts to decrease their air pollution. It is a good spring day for Whatcom County.
More info will be added if/when the media reps at either company get back to me.