In 1980, the Billings Gazette reported that a behind-the-scenes deal was being made with Japan to export coal from the Westmoreland Sarpy Creek Mine. Northern Plains made a stink, and the Japanese canceled the deal to avoid controversy. Thirty years later in 2010, Northern Plains renewed our fight to stop Montana coal from being exported overseas. Seven massive coal ports on the West Coast (Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia) were proposed as a way to “save markets” for coal. All but one of the ports have been canceled or shelved except the biggest one, Millennium Bulk Terminals at Longview, Washington. Millennium is owned by Lighthouse Resources, which owns the Decker Mine in southeast Montana. This week, Lighthouse filed for bankruptcy and is calling for a quick sale of Millennium. Corporate “dreams” of selling coal to Asia (coal that US customers don’t want) may finally be dead!
Article from the Billings Gazette that reports how Northern Plains members “raised a ruckus” about shipping Montana coal to Japan. It was so effective, the “news stories reached Japan reporting the ranchers’ dismay over the coal shipment” and the deal was scrapped.