BNSF Railway Company requested to join as an intervenor plaintiff in the lawsuit filed by Lighthouse Resources against Washington Governor Jay Inslee and members of his administration. BNSF's complaint asserts that Washington officials have unduly burdened interstate commerce by unreasonably denying permits for Millennium Bulk Terminals in Longview, Washington. This would be a violation of the U.S. Constitution's commerce clause, and when it comes to regulating railroad operations, federal law preempts state regulation.
"As a common carrier, BNSF is required by federal law to move regulated goods, including coal," said Roger Nober, BNSF's executive vice president Law and Corporate Affairs. "Permitting this facility should have followed the long-established process of making a determination based on site-specific impacts, instead they have taken it upon themselves to deny permits based on so-called rail impacts. This is a very clear violation of federal law."