This week, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox joined with attorneys general from Wyoming, South Dakota, Utah, Kansas and Nebraska in filing an Amicus Brief in support of the Millennium Bulk Terminal Expansion Project in Washington State. Fox says the project has been unfairly held up, by political ideology.

“Unfortunately, Governor Inslee from the state of Washington has expressed his ideological opposition to coal in general and that of course has tainted the regulatory decisions of that state and ultimately resulted in the denial of a permit,” Fox said.

Of course, some of the coal that would run through that port would come directly from Montana and Wyoming, but many of the signers to the brief have very little coal production. Fox says the behavior of Washington State impacts all states, and sets an unconstitutional precedent.

“Many of these cases have gone up to the United States Supreme Court and the court has made it clear over the years that one state cannot use nefarious reasons for prohibiting the marketing, transportation, or sale of another state’s commodities,” Fox said. “Of course in this case, the commodity happens to be coal.”

Fox argues that the state of Washington is currently at odds with the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The case is in federal court now, but likely won’t be heard for quite some time. If the Millennium Bulk Terminal is ever completed it would be capable of exporting 44 million metric tons of coal.

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