Wednesday's hearing at the Spokane Convention Center is the second of five that agencies are holding across Washington on a proposed coal export terminal at Longview. The hearings will help the Corps of Engineers, Ecology Department and Cowlitz County plan the environmental review for the $643 million Millennium Bulk Terminals project on the Columbia River.
The first hearing in Longview on Sept. 17 drew about 2,000 people, divided between environmental opponents and business supporters. The remaining public hearings will be Oct. 1 in Pasco, Oct. 9 in Vancouver and Oct. 17 in Tacoma.
Two other coal export terminals are proposed in the Northwest, one near Bellingham and one on the Columbia at Boardman, Ore. All would be used to ship coal from Montana and Wyoming to Asia.
West Coast Officials Discuss Oil Transportation
Environmental regulators from the Northwest are deliberating about a new influx of oil that's being transported through the region.
At a task force meeting of West Coast states, Linda Pilkey-Jarvis of the Washington Department of Ecology described the sudden increase in oil trains that are coming to terminals in the state. She says spill-response resources have typically focused on tanker traffic off the coast, so the new transport strategies will require new tactics, new technologies and new personnel around inland water resources.
Meanwhile, officials from British Columbia described how a proposed pipeline expansion and other ways of moving crude could lead to a large increase in tanker traffic along the west coast of the province and in water bodies close to Washington and Alaska.
Industry officials touted safety of the transportation methods and the environmental oversight.