Environmental Review
Millennium Bulk Terminals Longview (MBTL) proposal

Millennium Bulk Terminals – Longview, LLC (MBTL), with members Ambre Energy North America and Arch Coal, has submitted an application for a proposed coal export terminal at the site of the former Reynolds Aluminum smelter, in Cowlitz County. The terminal would ultimately export up to 44 million metric tons of coal annually (please note that metric tons are different from U.S. tons, 44 million metric tons = 48.5 million tons).

Study phase for environmental review underway

The study phase for the Millennium Bulk Terminals – Longview Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is ongoing, based on a scope announced in February, 2014. Ecology and Cowlitz County are co-lead agencies preparing an EIS under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is preparing a separate EIS under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Ecology and Cowlitz County are coordinating closely with the Corps, including sharing an EIS website and EIS consultant.

Additional information on both environmental reviews is available on the EIS website.

An important purpose of an EIS is to provide the public and agencies with information about the effects of a proposal. The EIS is an objective analysis of environmental impacts, reasonable alternatives, and mitigation measures that avoid or minimize adverse environmental impacts. The information gathered in this study phase will be used to develop a draft of the EIS.

See the frequently asked questions for additional details on the study phase for the SEPA EIS. Click on the SEPA EIS tab to expand it and view this information.

The completion of the draft EIS will be an important milestone in the process — at that point the SEPA co-lead agencies will ask for public comments. A timeline for issuing a draft EIS has not been set. To be notified when this happens, please sign up to receive emails from our LISTSERV.

After public comments are considered and any revisions made, a final EIS will be issued. After that, the permitting process may begin.

The environmental review process is not a decision. It is not a permit. It is not a yes or no about this project. The EIS will inform decisions made by agencies who are asked to make permit decisions.

Scoping period held from Aug. 16 to Nov. 18, 2013

A scoping summary report summarizes and categorizes comments received during scoping. People also can read all comments submitted on the EIS website.

During scoping, comments to assist in a decision of what impacts to analyze in an environmental impact statement (EIS) were gathered.

Ecology, Cowlitz County and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers received more than 215,000 comments during the scoping period for the EIS.

People were invited to comment online, via email and in writing. Five meetings also were held to gather input. About 1,300 comments were received during these meetings.

  • Sept. 17 — Cowlitz Expo Center, Longview, more than 1,300 attendees
  • Sept. 25 — Spokane Convention Center, Spokane, more than 500 attendees
  • Oct. 1 — The Trac Center, Pasco, more than 270 attendees
  • Oct. 9 — Clark County Fairgrounds, more than 1,000 attendees
  • Oct. 17 — Tacoma Convention Center, Tacoma, more than 900 attendees

Permitting Process

Under state law, the environmental review process has to be completed and an EIS issued before permits can be considered.

MBTL submitted a Joint Aquatic Resources Permit Application (JARPA) for the proposed facility on February 22, 2012. The JARPA contains permit application information for federal, state, and local agencies. After consultation with the Co-Lead Agencies, the 401 certification permit application in the JARPA was withdrawn after it was determined that the EIS process would take longer than 12 months. The Co-Lead Agencies agreed to continue with the environmental review process and MBTL will submit the 401 permit application when the Draft EIS is released for public review.

The coal export facility, as proposed, would be capable of receiving, stockpiling, blending and loading coal by conveyor onto ships for export. MBTL proposes bringing coal in by rail to the site, storing coal at the facility, and exporting coal on ships. The proposal includes two stages for the project. Both stages are addressed in the submitted JARPA. Under Stage 1 plans, up to 25 million metric tons of coal would be handled and under Stage 2, the maximum would increase to 44 million metric tons of coal. The complete proposed facility would require construction of eight rail lines, two new docks, two shiploaders, four coal stockpile pads, and associated facilities, conveyors, and equipment.

The submission of the JARPA triggers an environmental review process under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). Both phases of the proposed project will be addressed under SEPA.

Environmental Review Process

For proposals from a private company, the lead SEPA agency is the county where the project is located. Cowlitz County requested Ecology participate as a co-lead agency for the MBTL proposal, and Ecology accepted that request. In October 2012, Ecology, Cowlitz County, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to serve as co-lead agencies that will jointly oversee the preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS) under SEPA and the federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Under SEPA, if information indicates a proposal is likely to have a significant adverse environmental impact, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is required. The EIS includes an evaluation of alternatives to the proposal and measures that would eliminate or reduce the likely environmental impacts of the proposal. The purpose of an EIS is to inform the public and to provide agency decision-makers with information to make permit decisions.

MBTL has already agreed to the development of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) under SEPA in their JARPA application and request for CWA Section 401 Water Quality Certification.

The Army Corps of Engineers has already determined that an EIS will be required for the MBTL proposal under NEPA.

Public involvement opportunities

Public input is a crucial part of the SEPA process and there are several opportunities for individuals or organizations to submit their comments on the MBTL proposal.

  • During scoping meetings and the scoping comment period. As part of the SEPA process to develop an EIS, a scoping period includes public meeting(s) and a public comment period. Co-lead agencies ask other agencies, tribes, local communities, organizations, and the public to comment on what should be analyzed in the EIS. After considering comments, the co-lead agencies will decide what should be included in the draft EIS.
  • When the Draft EIS (DEIS) is published. There will be public hearing(s) and a public comment period on the DEIS. Comments received on the DEIS will be included in the Final EIS (FEIS) along with responses from the co-lead agencies.
  • During the permit application review processes of agencies.
  • For more information, please see the Citizens Guide to SEPA Review and Commenting.

Important Milestones and Related Documents

To receive email updates, join our listserv
Click to enlarge the timeline graphic below ↓

To receive email updates, join our listserv

Feb. 22, 2012: Permit applications filed (MBTL JARPA Application)

April 26, 2012: Cowlitz County’s Request to Ecology to be Co-Lead

May 16, 2012: Ecology’s Agreement to be Co-Lead with Cowlitz County (news release)

June 2012: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers agrees to be Co-Lead with Cowlitz County and Ecology

July to September 2012: Cowlitz County, Ecology and the Corps negotiate memorandum of understanding (MOU).

The local, state and federal agencies' work on the MOU includes establishing procedures for how the agencies will work collaboratively to create a joint National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) / State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) document under the respective legal authorities of each agency, including agency-specific duties. Negotiations include overall principles on how to work together to:
  • Prepare the environmental impact statement (EIS)
  • Involve the public, other agencies, governments, organizations and tribes
  • Conduct a thorough scoping process
  • Accept, review and rank bids from third-party consultants
  • Direct work of the consultant
  • Prepare a communications protocol, work plan, and schedule for the agencies and consultant to use.

October 11, 2012: Signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Cowlitz County, the Corps and Ecology that details the legal relationship between the three agencies and how they will work together to coordinate the environmental review to meet SEPA and NEPA requirements. (news release)

Nov. 21, 2012: The agencies finalize the Request for Proposals (RFP) for a third party consultant to work on the EIS for the Co-Lead Agencies, and the RFP is issued through the county’s competitive bidding process.

January 2013: Proposals are submitted by consultants

February 2013: Co-Lead Agencies interview consultant candidates

April 1, 2013: Consultant selected (news release), contract negotiations begin

May 21, 2013: Cowlitz County Board of Commissioners authorizes and signs contract with consultant (news release)

June - August 2013: The agencies and consultant work to determine scoping period, locations and dates

August 9, 2013: Cowlitz County SEPA Determination of Significance and Request for Comments

August 14, 2013: Corps Notice of Intent to Prepare a Joint Environmental Impact Statement

August 16, 2013: Scoping begins. Scoping is Aug. 16 to Nov. 18 (news release)

September 6, 2013: Corps issues revised Notice of Intent

September 9, 2013: Cowlitz County issues revised Determination of Significance

September - November, 2013 Scoping meetings extended in Longview and Clark County, ground rules announced (news release)

October 1, 2013: Updated Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Cowlitz County, the Corps and Ecology that details the legal relationship between the three agencies and how they will work together to coordinate the environmental review to meet SEPA and NEPA requirements. (news release)

October 2013: Cowlitz County approves contract amendment #2 for work on draft Environmental Impact Statements

February 2014: Scoping summary report released and study phase for draft EIS begins (news release)

July 2014: Cowlitz County approves contract amendment #3 for work on draft Environmental Impact Statements

September 2014: Cowlitz County approves contract amendment #4 for work on draft Environmental Impact Statements

We are here (arrow)November 2014: Cowlitz County approves contract amendment #5 for work on draft Environmental Impact Statements

Current Activities at Millennium Bulk Terminals - Longview

Existing Operations

MBTL currently uses an existing dock to import bulk alumina by vessel. The bulk alumina is stored on site and transported to an Alcoa smelter in Wenatchee. The site is also used to import a small amount of coal by rail for use by the neighboring Weyerhaeuser complex. These existing operations will continue and are separate from the coal export terminal proposal.

Cleanup of the Site

The Reynolds Metals Company owned and operated the site as an aluminum smelter from 1941 to 2000. Alcoa purchased Reynolds Metals Company in 2000. Alcoa sold the site assets to Longview Aluminum LLC in 2001 and the smelter was permanently closed after the sale in 2001. Chinook Ventures purchased the facility through the Longview Aluminum bankruptcy proceedings in 2004. Northwest Alloys, a subsidiary of Alcoa, remains the property owner. MBTL owns the facility assets on the site.

Cleaning up the existing site is Ecology’s first priority for the property. Ecology is overseeing work being done by Northwest Alloys-Alcoa and MBTL to investigate and cleanup the site under the State’s Model Toxics Control Act. Cleanup efforts at the site are already in progress and are handled separately from the coal export terminal proposal.

Additional resources


SITE INFORMATION

Facility Site ID: #29

Location:
West of Longview, Cowlitz County at 46.1364 N/ -123.0047 W

Region: Southwest Regional Office (SWRO)

Ecology Point of Contact:
Diane Butorac
Regional Planner
Southwest Regional Office
Department of Ecology
diane.butorac@ecy.wa.gov

To receive email updates, join our listserv

NEWS RELEASES

Feb 11, 2014 Environmental study phase to begin for proposed coal terminal in Cowlitz County

Oct 3, 2013 Agencies seek public input on environmental review for Millennium Bulk Terminals - Longview proposal at scoping meetings

Oct 1, 2013 Legal agreement amended to include separate environmental reviews for proposed Longview-area coal shipping terminal

Sept. 24 Oct 1 meeting set in Pasco for public input on scope for Millennium coal export proposal environmental review

Sep 6, 2013: Extended meeting times, ground rules for meetings announced by agencies seeking input on environmental reviews for export terminal proposal

Aug 9, 2013: Scoping to begin Aug. 16 for environmental review of Millennium Bulk Terminals - Longview proposal

May 21, 2013: Cowlitz County, Washington Dept. of Ecology, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Apr 1, 2013: Consultant selected for environmental review of proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals – Longview project

Oct 9, 2012: Ecology, Cowlitz County, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers agree on joint environmental review of Millennium coal export proposal

May 18, 2012: Ecology, Cowlitz County to co-lead environmental review of proposed coal terminal near Longview