Before Coal Shipments, A Broad Environmental Review

By Paige Browning

Washington's Cowlitz County, Spokane County, and the tracks in between will be part of the study on a proposed coal shipment facility. Wednesday, the state’s Department of Ecology released the scope of the study on the Millennium Bulk Terminals in Longview, Washington.
 
Ecology and Cowlitz County officials say the scope will focus on probable impacts to the county, some impacts across Washington, and include limited discussion on rail and vessel traffic outside the state. The agencies are leading the project’s EIS- Environmental Impact Statement. Ecology’s southwest region director, Sally Toteff, says the study will address greenhouse gas emissions and diesel particulates.
 
Toteff: “Including those from terminal contraction, terminal operations, rail and vessel traffic, and also the end-use coal combustion. The analysis does not include evaluating environmental impacts with other countries importing the coal.”
 
Environmental advocates wanted studies on the global implications of burning coal. The Millennium Bulk proposal could ship 44 million tons of coal to Asia annually, drilled in Montana and Wyoming. Proponents say it will bring jobs and additional export opportunities. County director of building and planning Elaine Placido says they realize more than their own community is potentially affected.
 
This scope of study resembles that of the other large proposed terminal in Washington, the Gateway Pacific near Bellingham. A public comment period on the draft EIS for both proposals will occur once they’re complete. Neither has a set deadline.
 
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