Attorney General Tim Fox’s office is cheering a ruling by a federal judge yesterday.
“This is a big win for supporters of coal exports,” Montana Department of Justice Spokesman Eric Sell says.
Sell says a federal judge gave the go-ahead for a challenge to Washington State’s denial of permits for a coal export terminal.
“There’s a reason that states aren’t allowed to pick and choose which commodities they allow to go through their ports and on their highways and on their railways,” he says.
Last year, Washington State denied permits for the controversial Millennium Bulk Terminals project on the grounds of costly environmental damages. On appeal, the decision was upheld in April.
Montana, along with Wyoming, Kansas, Utah, Nebraska and South Dakota filed a brief earlier this month in support of the company proposing the terminal.
The company says Washington’s actions violate the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Montana Attorney General Fox says Washington is “holding coal states hostage” and depriving Montana of jobs and tax revenue. Coal and railroad interests here want the terminal to export Montana coal to Asian markets.
The case is expected to be heard in court in the coming months.