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Rejection of coal terminal permit was lawful

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World Coal,

An administrative law judge has upheld Oregon’s decision to reject permits for a coal export terminal at the Columbia River’s Port of Morrow, ruling the decision constitutional despite arguments to the contrary from the states of Wyoming and Montana.

According to Judge Alison Greene Webster, the Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) did not overstep its authority when it blocked the proposed terminal development because of potential impacts on tribal fishing grounds.

The proposed terminal forms part of a chain that would see Powder River Basin coal mined in Wyoming and Montana exported to Asian markets.

The two coal-producing states had asked the judge to rule that the DSL decision violated the US Constitution’s Commerce Clause, which prohibits states from interfering or burdening interstate trade – an argument that was rejected by the judge.

The ruling does not, however, end the case. In November, an appeal will be heard related to the impact the proposed terminal would have on state water resources, including the key question over damage to tribal fishing grounds.

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