Hearing seeks input on proposed Longview coal terminal

Last public session on project being held in Tacoma today



The final public hearing for a coal terminal proposed for Longview will be held in Tacoma on Thursday.

More than 1,000 people attended an Oct. 9 meeting on the coal terminal at the Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds.

The Millennium Bulk Terminal could be built near Longview with a handling capacity of up to 44 million tons of coal per year. It’s one of two large coal terminals under consideration in Washington. One other coal export proposal is being considered in Oregon.

The coal would arrive by train from the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana and be loaded onto ships bound for Asia.

At the hearing in Tacoma, people will have a chance to tell government agencies overseeing the permitting of the terminal — U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Washington Department of Ecology — what potential impacts they think should be considered in the environmental review.

As of Monday, the agencies had received 20,996 comments. The majority were submitted in writing or online but more than 1,000 have been received at the four previous public scoping meetings held around the state.

“We’re really in listening mode and want to hear from people about what they think the environmental study should suggest,” said Linda Kent with the Washington Department of Ecology.

The Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency overseeing the environmental review of the three proposed Northwest coal terminals, has been sending representatives to the public meetings, despite being on furlough because of the government shutdown. All comments collected at the meetings are shared between Ecology and the Corps, despite the fact that the two agencies will now be completing separate environmental reviews of the Millennium Bulk Terminalproposal.

The meeting is being held at the Tacoma Convention Center from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday and is expected to draw large crowds. It’s the fifth and final public hearing for the Millennium Bulk Terminal. People can continue to submit comments online and by mail until November 18. Submit comments at the official website.