Two proposed Northwest port facilities to export coal to China are facing hurdles.

Millennium Bulk Logistics, a subsidiary of Australia’s Ambre Energy North America, with a partial stake owned by St. Louis-based Arch Coal Inc., wants to upgrade the Longview Terminal Facility on the Columbia River, roughly 45 miles downstream of Portland, Ore. But environmental groups, including the Washington Dept. of Ecology, have filed suit against the project, claiming Cowlitz County didn’t follow state law in awarding a shoreline permit.

Millennium bought 416 acres of a former aluminum smelter in January. It wants to replace 150 creosote river pilings and install new structures and machinery, including dock repairs, dust-control equipment and a 525,000-sq-ft stockpile area to store coal.

To block a plan to rail 5.7 million tons of Powder River Basin coal each year for export, the Seattle office of Earthjustice filed suit against Millennium on Dec. 13 on behalf of the Sierra Club, Climate Solutions, Columbia Riverkeepers and the Washington Environmental Council. The state ecology agency joined the plaintiffs, saying county officials did not properly consider greenhouse gas emissions outside the project boundaries. A trial is set for April, says Earthjustice lawyer Jan Hasselman.

Seattle-based SSA Marine is preparing an environmental impact review for its proposed dock expansion of the Gateway Pacific Terminal on 1,092 acres in Whatcom County. The $400-million project would include a 2,980-ft-long wharf, a 1,250-ft trestle to move cargo in a conveyor system and storage facilities.

Served by the BNSF Railway, it would be the largest dock of its kind on the West Coast. Construction would start in 2013 for completion in early 2015.