Daines Defends Montana’s Right to Export Coal to Asia

U.S. SENATEU.S. Senators Steve Daines, John Barraso, Shelley Moore Capito and James Inhofe introduced a bill clearing the way for construction of the Millennium Bulk Terminal, which would create hundreds of Montana jobs by expanding trade opportunities for Montana coal. The legislation clarifies that Section 401 of the Clean Water Act cannot be used as a weapon to prohibit Montana’s exportation of clean and reliable coal to the nation’s allies in the Asia Pacific Region.

 Daines on Millennium

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“Montana is rich in natural resources and has the capability of supplying energy not only for our nation, but to the entire the world,” Daines said. “This bill will ensure our state’s abundant resources are no longer gridlocked by activist bureaucrats and will spur high–paying Montana jobs, empower our Tribes, and importantly, strengthen our national security.”

Today, there is a large demand for Montana’s clean coal in Asia. Despite this, the State of Washington has blocked the construction of the Millennium Bulk Terminal, which is the point of access for Montana coal to make its way to Asia.

Earlier this month, Daines pushed for congressional action to stop the abuse of power by Washington State to construct the terminal and get Montana’s clean coal into Asia’s markets.

Opening the terminal would allow coal from Montana’s Decker Mine, Spring Creek Mine and the Crow’s Big Metal Project to have access to Asian markets. An operating terminal would create an estimated 300 to 400 high-paying mining jobs – most of them in Montana.


Statement of Support:

Everett King, President & CEO, Lighthouse Resources: “When a project meets all water quality standards, the project’s water quality certification should be awarded.  Unfortunately, this was not the case with our coal export project in Washington state.  This legislation ensures that Clean Water Act decisions remain about water quality and are not used for an improper purpose. In addition, the proposed legislation will bring greater clarity for the development of the port for other non-coal products.” 

Tim Fox, Attorney General of Montana: “Montana is a commodity-rich state and our businesses need reliable access to overseas markets. Sen. Daines’ legislation is an important step in depoliticizing the environmental review process for export terminals. By leveling the playing field among the states, we can maintain robust environmental protection standards while also ensuring Montanans can ship their goods to customers around the world.”



The Water Quality Certification Improvement Act of 2018 would:

  • Clarify that the scope of a section 401 review is limited to water quality impacts only
  • Clarify that states, when evaluating water quality, can only consider discharges that would result from the federally permitted or licensed activity itself – not from other sources.
  • Require states to publish clear requirements for water quality certification requests;
  • Require states to make final decisions on whether to grant or deny a request in writing based only on water quality reasons.
  • Require states to inform a project applicant within 90 days whether the states have all of the materials needed to process a certification request.

Click here for bill text.