May 10, 2016 - U.S. Army Corps Rejects Permit for Coal Export Terminal on Lummi Nation Land

Lummi Nation – On Monday May 9th, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers denied a permit for a proposed coal export terminal at Cherry Point near Bellingham, WA on Lummi Nation land.

The Army Corps decision came in response to a request by the Lummi Nation to reject the project due to its impact on tribal fishing, treaty rights and desecration of sacred sites and burial grounds. The proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal, if built, would have been the largest coal export terminal in the U.S. bringing coal from the Powder River region in Montana and Wyoming to markets in Asia.

In its decision, the Army Corps ruled that the proposed project would impact the treaty-protected fishing rights of the Lummi Nation. In January 2015, the Lummi Nation submitted a request that its treaty fishing rights be protected.

The Lummi Nation, other tribes, and environmentalists have long fought against the proposed coal terminal in addition to its mining, rail transportation and exporting.

Lummi tribal Chairman Tim Ballew issued the following statement Monday in response to the Army Corps decision.

This is a historic victory for treaty rights and the constitution. It is a historic victory for the Lummi Nation and our entire region. We are pleased to see that the Corps has honored the treaty and the constitution by providing a decision that recognizes the terminal’s impacts to our fishing rights. This decision is a win for the treaty and protects our sacred site. Our ancient ones at Xwe’chieXen, Cherry Point, will rest protected.

Because of this decision, the water we rely on to feed our families, for our ceremonies and for commercial purposes remains protected. But this is more than a victory for our people; it’s a victory for treaty rights.

Treaty rights shape our region and nation. As tribes across the United States face pressures from development and resource extraction, we’ll continue to see tribes lead the fight to defend their treaty rights, and protect and manage their lands and waters for future generations.

The impact of a coal terminal on our treaty fishing rights would be severe, irreparable and impossible to mitigate.

Today’s victory is monumental and the Corps followed a fair process defined by law to make the right decision. The Corps has honored the treaty between Lummi and the United States.

We will always fight to protect Xwe’chieXen.”

Master carver Jewell James (Lummi) carved a healing pole and brought it to impacted communities from the coal mines in the Powder River region, communities along the rail lines, to the proposed terminal.

Healing pole carved by Jewell James (Lummi) traveled from South Dakota to Alberta Tar Sands to bring communities together in fight against coal and oil exports.

Lummi Nation protest the proposed terminal by burning a check stating they will not be bought by corporate interest.


Members of the Lummi Nation protest the proposed coal export terminal at Cherry Point by burning a large check stamped “Non-Negotiable” on the Gulf Road beach west of Ferndale, Wash., Friday afternoon, Sept. 21, 2012, The tribe says they want to protect the natural and cultural heritage of the site. (AP Photo/The Bellingham Herald, Philip A. Dwyer)

Natives and non-Natives occupy the rail lines in Seattle to protest coal and oil trains.


Protect Salish Sea advocates occupy rail lines in Seattle to oppose coal and oil export trains (summer 2014).


by Wakíƞyaƞ Waánataƞ (Matt Remle)

Last Real Indians writer and editor Matt Remle (Lakota) speaking out against the proposed coal terminal and oil exports in Seattle 2013.

Last Real Indians