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Natural Resources & Energy

Wyoming Legal Battle Continues Over In-Flux Coal Port

Plans for the Millennium Bulk Terminal
Millennium Bulk Terminals - Longview

Wyoming alongside Montana will continue its lawsuit against Washington State stemming from a proposed coal port that's on its last legs.

"It's never been about one enterprise or even one commodity. It's the principle of state's rights and access to markets that is at stake," Gov. Mark Gordon stated in a Jan. 12 message to legislators.

A roughly decade-long discussion about a terminal to export Wyoming coal to Asia has all but come to an end last week. The bankrupt Lighthouse Resources Inc. ended relevant contracts in a federal court in Delaware on Jan. 8.

"The Contracts no longer have any value to the Debtors because the Debtors will no longer operate the Millennium Facility and have no ability or need to continue to meet their obligations under the Contracts," read a Jan. 8 filing. Debtors include Lighthouse Resources, Inc.

On Jan. 24, 2020, Wyoming and Montana filed a motion requesting the U.S. Supreme Court consider claims that Washington unconstitutionally blocked access to coal shipments.

On Oct. 6, 2020, the Supreme Court invited acting Solicitor General Jeff Wall to file a brief expressing the view of the federal government on the case. No brief has since been made public.

In the Gov.'s address this week, he said the state's lawsuit is still pending before the Supreme Court.

"We simply can't have one state interfering with another's access to markets by using the Clean Water Act or any other regulation as a weapon to pursue a misguided political agenda," he said.

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