Joint Release: Cowlitz County, Washington Dept. of Ecology - October 10, 2013

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Agencies seek input on environmental review for proposed Longview area coal terminal

Fifth and final meeting to be held Oct. 17 in Tacoma

TACOMA – The public is invited to an Oct. 17 meeting in Tacoma to comment on the scope of environmental review 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 environmental impact statements (EIS) – one that meets federal requirements and one that meets 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 fifth and final scoping meeting is from 4 to 8 p.m. Oct. 17 at the Tacoma Convention Center, 1500 Broadway. People can continue to submit comments for up to a month following the meeting, through Nov. 18. The 95-day comment period began Aug. 16.

Previous meetings were held in Longview, Spokane, Pasco and Clark County.

Staff will be available to provide information 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 anytime during the meeting hours.

The open house begins at 4 p.m. and continues throughout the meeting. People may submit written or oral comments to a court reporter in a semi-private setting. The opportunity to provide oral comments before an audience is from 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 for every voice to be heard. The meeting 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 on all four sides of the convention center and in lots throughout city. The venue also is served by public transit.

People do not need to attend a scoping meeting to gain information available during the open house or to comment. Information about the project and various ways to comment are available on the EIS website.

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.

Quick facts:

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

For 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)