Dozens of other west coast cities along potential freight routes have adopted similar stances though they hold no authority to prevent the traffic from moving through their communities. However, the collective opposition does set up further legal pressures against developers.

On the other side of the Columbia River, in Cowlitz County, the Washington Department of Ecology and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that they will jointly review the environmental impact of the Millennium Bulk Terminal’s proposed coal export facility near Longview, Wash. The project, jointly owned by Ambre Energy and Arch Coal, proposes that coal will travel by train from Montana and Wyoming mines, will then be transloaded to barges that will travel to Longview where the coal will be loaded onto ocean going vessels bound for Asia.

On October 4, Bloomberg North America (BNA) reported that the White House Council on Environmental Quality had convened a meeting with senior agency staff in August to discuss many of the leading west coast coal port projects. One issue discussed was whether the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers go beyond conducting only a site by site evaluation of the various proposals or conduct a cumulative impact assessment of all the projects together including the amount of additional greenhouse gasses that could be emitted worldwide as a result of these ports being constructed. Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) requested earlier this year that the EPA direct the Corps to conduct such a study within the group’s Environmental Impact Studies. Corps officials told BNA they could not think of an instance in which they had included greenhouse gas impacts in the scope of an EIS.