Tribes ask feds to reject permit for coal-export project

SEATTLE — Leaders from nine Native American tribes have urged the Army Corps of Engineers to deny permits for a proposed coal-export terminal near Bellingham.

The leaders from Washington, British Columbia and Montana met in Seattle on Thursday to oppose the Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point. That project would export as much as 48 million tons of coal each year from Montana and Wyoming to Asia.

The Lummi Nation and others say the project would disrupt treaty-protected fishing rights and harm sacred sites.

Bob Watters with project developer SSA Marine says the tribe has refused to participate in the federal environmental review and he urged the corps to continue its work.

The corps is reviewing the environmental impacts of the project, while state and local regulators also doing a review.

The tribes include the Lummi, Lower Elwha, Spokane, Quinault, Yakama, Tulalip, Northern Cheyenne and Swinomish tribes.

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