FILE - US Coal Climate Change

A BNSF Railway train hauling carloads of coal from the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming is seen east of Hardin, Mont., on July 15, 2020.  

(The Center Square) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday denied Wyoming and Montana’s request for the court to hear their challenge to Washington state’s denial of a coal port.

The two coal-producing states sought to bypass lower courts by asking SCOTUS to resolve the multistate dispute.

In 2017, Washington officials denied a permit for a proposed coal terminal, which would have been used by the industry to export coal to foreign markets.

Wyoming was the leading U.S. coal producer in 2019 and accounted for more than 39% of the country’s production, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Wyoming and Montana have alleged the permit was denied to discriminate against the coal industry and that Washington also violated the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause by restricting other states’ ability to trade.

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon called the court’s denial “extremely frustrating” in a statement Monday.

“This case was never about a single permit or product,” Gordon said. “It was about the ability of one state to engage in lawful interstate commerce without the interference of another state.”

“Today it is coal, tomorrow it could be agricultural products or any of our state's abundant natural resources,” he said. “At some point the Supreme Court is going to need to take on this matter.”

Wyoming and Montana first asked the court to hear their challenge in January 2020.

Regional Editor

Derek Draplin is a regional editor at The Center Square. He previously worked as an opinion producer at Forbes, as an editor at The Daily Caller, and as a reporter at Michigan Capitol Confidential and The Detroit News.