Joint Release: Cowlitz County, Washington Dept. of Ecology - October 1, 2013

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Legal agreement amended to include separate environmental reviews for proposed

COWLITZ COUNTY -- The three agencies conducting environmental reviews for a proposed coal shipping terminal near Longview, Wash., have updated their 2012 working agreement.

The revised agreement, called a Memorandum of Understanding, now says Cowlitz County, the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will use a synchronized process to create two environmental impact statements (EISs) instead of one joint document.

Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview LLC proposes to build and operate a terminal to export coal from the site of the former Reynolds Aluminum smelter in Cowlitz County.

Cowlitz County and Ecology must follow the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), and the Corps must follow the federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Both NEPA and SEPA require the disclosure and evaluation of environmental effects of a proposed action on the existing natural and built environment. An EIS is prepared when a proposed action is likely to have significant adverse environmental impacts.

Scoping is the first step in the EIS process. Through scoping, the agencies decide what areas will be evaluated in the EISs.

The updated agreement does not alter the current scoping process, which began Aug. 16 and closes Nov. 18. Nor will it affect the five scoping meeting dates and locations or meeting ground rules designed to create a safe, secure and respectful atmosphere for commenting.

Representatives from the three agencies will attend all scoping meetings and will accept and review all comments received.

People can provide comments in multiple ways in addition to attending meetings. The EIS website offers an online comment form that is available continuously on the EIS website throughout the scoping period. Individuals may also comment by postal mail through Nov. 18.

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Additional information:

The agencies’ environmental review is separate from a cleanup being conducted at the site under the state’s Model Toxics Control Act. Ecology is working with site owner Northwest Alloys-Alcoa and site operator Millennium Bulk Terminals to investigate and clean up the site where the Reynolds Metals Company owned and operated an aluminum smelter from 1941 to 2000. The smelter was permanently shut down in 2001. More information on the cleanup effort is available on Ecology’s Reynolds Metal cleanup website.

The proposed coal shipping terminal project is also separate from current operations on the site. Millennium Bulk Terminals currently moves alumina from ship to rail to supply a Wenatchee aluminum smelter. The company also imports a small amount of coal by rail for use by the neighboring Weyerhaeuser complex. For more information about current operations, see Ecology’s current operations website.

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Media Contact:

Linda Kent, Ecology media relations, 360-407-6239, linda.kent@ecy.wa.gov, Twitter: @ecySW
Stephanie Dunn, Cowlitz County, 360-577-3065, ext. 9-2736, DunnS@co.cowlitz.wa.us

More information:

Official website for Millennium proposal scoping process (www.millenniumbulkeiswa.gov)

Ecology's Millennium website (www.ecy.wa.gov/geographic/millennium/index.html)

Cowlitz County (www.co.cowlitz.wa.us/Index.aspx?NID=1559)

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District (www.nws.usace.army.mil)

Washington Office of Regulatory Assistance (www.ora.wa.gov/)

Ecology's social media (www.ecy.wa.gov/about/newmedia.html)