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Environmental coalition: Construction permit for Plaquemines Parish coal terminal 'outrageous'

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NEW ORLEANS — The Army Corps of Engineers has approved construction of a coal terminal on a 600-acre site in Plaquemines Parish. A coalition of Gulf of Mexico environmental groups called Monday's decision outrageous.

The site at Myrtle Grove would be the third coal terminal in Plaquemines, all located within a few miles on the Mississippi River.

Environmental groups and some local residents and officials have opposed plans for the terminal, partly because it is near a planned project designed to let Mississippi River sediment flow into and help rebuild Louisiana's disappearing wetlands.

The company "would run mile-long uncovered coal trains that spew toxic coal dust through Gretna and Belle Chasse and pile mounds of dirty coal next to one of our state's most important coastal restoration investments," the Gulf Restoration Network's senior organizer, Grace Morris, wrote in a news release.

She accused the Corps of choosing "to sacrifice our state's flood buffers for (the) terminal's profits."

The permit says work should be completed by Nov. 30, 2017.

The land is owned by Ram Terminals LLC, registered in Delaware and owned by the principals of Lexington, Kentucky-based Ramaco Coal Reserve Acquisition and Development, and another of their companies, called Yorktown Partners LLC.

Neither Ramaco's chairman and CEO, Randall W. Atkins, nor its president, Michael Bauersachs, immediately responded to a call for comment.

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