Joint Release: Cowlitz County, Washington Department of Ecology - April 29, 2016

Draft environmental study released for coal export proposal near Longview
Public can comment April 29 through June 13

COWLITZ COUNTY, WA – Today Cowlitz County and the Washington Department of Ecology published a draft study evaluating the potential environmental impacts of a proposed coal export terminal near Longview. The study is available for public review through June 13.

The 45-day public comment period on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement includes three public hearings: May 24 in Longview, May 26 in Spokane, and June 2 in Pasco. Comments may be submitted online and by mail anytime during the comment period.

Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview is proposing to build and operate a terminal that would handle up to 44 million metric tons of coal annually. The proposed facility would bring in coal from western United States with trains, stockpile it at the facility, and then export the coal by ship to Asia.

The draft study evaluates 23 environmental resource areas using analytical methods and information from multiple studies. The areas include the natural environment, the man-made environment, and transportation.

The study, available at www.millenniumbulkeiswa.gov, found the proposed project could have environmental impacts in 21 of the areas – some of them significant. Mitigation that could reduce or offset impacts is also proposed in the study.

The study identifies impacts from construction and operations to water quality, fish and wildlife, groundwater, and the local communities. The study evaluates the possible impacts to rail and vehicle traffic by adding eight loaded trains plus eight empty trains (each 1.3 miles long) daily.

The analysis looks at coal dust, noise, and air quality in Cowlitz County and Washington. It includes the potential impacts to vessel traffic by adding 1,680 new vessel trips each year to the Columbia River. The study identifies air-quality impacts, including greenhouse gas pollution that could happen due to the proposed project.

Cowlitz County and Ecology are co-leading the study, which follows Washington’s State Environmental Policy Act.

"The partnership between Cowlitz County and Ecology brings together our local knowledge and state perspective to form a thorough consideration of impacts," said Elaine Placido, Cowlitz County Director of Building and Planning.

"The draft study answers a wide range of questions from the public, and now it’s time for people to review and offer their perspective," said Sally Toteff, regional director for Ecology’s Southwest Region Office.

How to comment
Comments can be submitted online, by mail or at the public hearings April 29 through June 13.

Public hearings and open houses

More project information, including multiple factsheets with overviews of key issues are available at www.millenniumbulkeiswa.gov.

Contacts:

Elaine Placido, Cowlitz County Director of Building & Planning, 360-577-3052 ext. 6662
Lisa Copeland, Ecology communications, 360-407-6990, @ecologyWA