Friday, May 6, 2016

View the draft review – proposed coal export terminal near Kelso studied for environmental impacts

It’s been almost a week since we released a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Millennium Bulk Terminals – Longview coal export terminal under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) with Cowlitz County. And given that it’s the last of four coal export terminals proposed in recent years that is still moving forward, we expect an unprecedented amount of interest.

What we studied

We evaluated potential environmental impacts during construction and operation of the proposed facility. Some of the considerations included air, water and soil, noise, vehicle delays, rail traffic, coal dust and greenhouse gas pollution. (Visit the project website for a full list of the areas studied and factsheets).

Where the study found significant potential impacts

We found several significant impacts. Proposed mitigation may lessen the impacts for some, but the study identifies that if mitigation is not done, some impacts would be significant and unavoidable:
  • Rail line segments in Washington would be unable to meet the capacity demands 
  • Increased noise along the rail line in Cowlitz County would impact the local, low income and minority neighborhood
  • Rush-hour delays and backups in the industrial area of Longview would worsen
  • Greenhouse gas emissions would affect climate change; climate change is impacting Washington

And where the study did NOT find significant impacts

Some findings may surprise you:
  • Coal dust from the facility and trains would not exceed state or federal air pollution standards
  • Additional  vessels would not exceed the capacity of Columbia River traffic system
  • Stormwater would be managed and re-used on site and treated before discharging into the Columbia
  • Groundwater – including the City of Longview’s water supply next to the site – would not be significantly affected

It’s not a vote – all comments matter

Comments on the draft study will be accepted until June 13 and can be submitted online, via U.S. mail or at public hearings.

Comments should provide feedback on the studies and analyses in the environmental review. The draft report is not a decisional document and won’t determine if the project is approved or not. Instead, the environmental review is an informational tool for those issuing permits to refer to.
For more information, visit

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