Joint Release: Cowlitz County, Washington Dept. of Ecology - October 3, 2013

13-253

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

Fourth meeting to be held Oct. 9 in Clark County

CLARK COUNTY – The public is invited to an Oct. 9 meeting to comment on the scope of environmental impact statements (EISs) for a proposed coal export terminal near Longview.

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, the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) are using a synchronized process to create two EISs – one meeting federal requirements and one meeting state requirements. Cowlitz County and Ecology must follow the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), and the Corps must follow the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

The fourth of five scoping meetings will be held from noon to 8 p.m. Oct. 9 at the Clark County Fairgrounds Event Center, 17402 N.E. Delfel Road, Ridgefield.

Previous meetings were held in Longview, Spokane and Pasco. The final meeting will be held in Tacoma on Oct. 17.

Staff will be available to provide information about the proposed project and answer questions throughout the open-house style meeting. The public will have opportunities to provide oral or written comments. No formal presentation will occur, so people may arrive and leave as they choose during the meeting hours.

People also may submit written comments or oral comments to a court reporter in a semi-private setting throughout the meeting. The opportunities to offer oral comments before an audience will be from 1 to 4 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m.

All three agencies will accept and review all comments received.

Since a large number of people may want to speak during the oral comment portion of the meeting, a lottery drawing will be used to provide an unbiased selection of speakers.

People attending are asked to abide by the meeting ground rules designed to create a safe, secure and respectful atmosphere where every voice can be heard. Meetings may be delayed – or cancelled – if those attending do not adhere to the rules.

Large crowds are expected, so people are advised to plan accordingly. Parking is available in lots on two sides of the fairground’s event center and in lots throughout the grounds. The venue is not served by public transit.

People do not need to attend a scoping meeting to get information from the open house, nor do they need to attend to provide comments. An “online scoping meeting” that includes options for commenting online as well as via email and postal mail is available continuously on the EIS website throughout the scoping period.

All comments received during the scoping period will be given equal weight regardless of whether they are received at a scoping meeting, on the website, by email or U.S. mail.

Through scoping, the agencies will decide what impacts to analyze in the EIS. Public input is an important part of this process.

The 95-day comment period for the EIS scoping process began Aug. 16 and ends Nov. 18.

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 Co. 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:

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

More information:

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

Meeting ground rules (www.millenniumbulkeiswa.gov/assets/mbtl_mtggroundrulesspeakerselection.pdf)

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)