State office tries to slow Cowlitz port upgrade

Washington state says Cowlitz County did not go far enough in evaluating greenhouse gas emissions from a proposed port upgrade. The redeveloped port would export coal to Asia.

The Department of Ecology on Tuesday filed a motion to intervene in an appeal of the county’s decision to allow the upgrade. Ecology says it wants to ensure that its concerns are adequately addressed.

In a statement, Ecology said the county’s environmental review should have analyzed greenhouse gas emissions more broadly, not just around the project.

In November, Cowlitz County approved shoreline permits for a subsidiary of Australia-based Ambre Energy to redevelop an existing port to handle 5 million tons of coal annually. The project would serve mines in Montana and Wyoming.

Conservation groups have appealed to the state Shorelines Hearings Board. A trial is set for April.