September 17, 2013 was the first in a series of five scoping hearings on Ambre Energy’s proposed Millennium coal export terminal in Longview, Washington. Hundreds of Northwest residents gathered to offer testimony on their concerns related to the project.
“Millennium has repeatedly lied to our community and deliberately conspired to keep pertinent information from our local decisionmakers,” said Gayle Kiser, President of Landowners and Citizens for a Safe Community. “That’s why we are pushing for the most thorough examination of the project possible – we don’t trust them to tell us the truth about what their project means to Longview.”
For a complete photo album from the Longview hearing, click here.
“I am deeply concerned about the health impacts of a coal export facility on our community, especially on the neighborhood near the terminal,” said Dr. Lee Ann Gekas, a family practice doctor from Longview. “I have lived in Longview for over twenty years and would hate to see a short sighted decision hurt the people of our town. We deserve more information on how a coal export terminal will affect our health and community.”
“The amount of traffic created by the coal trains necessary for this proposal poses a serious threat to our economy,” said Gary Lindstrom, maritime consultant from Longview. “Our rail infrastructure is not capable of handling these coal trains without causing traffic jam on a daily basis.”
Speakers came from Longview, across Southwest Washington, and as far away as Montana to ask the agencies to examine the impacts of coal export on their communities.
“Mining the coal that would go through Longview would have dramatic impacts on a currently unindustrialized valley in Montana and our ranches,” said Dawson Dunning who hails from a fifth generation Montana ranch. “The water quality and availability in Otter Creek and the Tongue River Valley is essential to these ranching operations – this project could have drastic consequences for the continued livelihood of this area’s ranching traditions and our fundamental way of life in Montana.”
The strong opposition to the proposal follows recent news that a majority of voters in both Washington and Oregon now oppose plans to export coal from Northwest ports, opposition that has grown by double digits in the last year.
The Longview coal export proposal has a rocky history. In 2011, a legal challenge exposed internal documents showing that Ambre and their US subsidiary Millennium Bulk Logistics lied to Cowlitz County and state officials about the size of their project, claiming it would ship five million tons per year when they planned a project more than 10 times that size.
Following the controversy, Ambre withdrew its permit application and in 2012 re-filed for a terminal that would handle 44 million tons of coal/year.
Scoping for the proposed Longview terminal follows the announcement of a broad scope for the proposed Cherry Point terminal in northwest Washington by the State Department of Ecology and Whatcom County. Of the six proposed coal export terminals in the Northwest, three remain viable: Longview, Cherry Point and Port of Morrow, OR.
POWER PAST COAL is an ever-growing alliance of health, environmental, businesses, clean-energy, faith and community groups working to stop coal export off the West Coast. Visit www.powerpastcoal.org.
Longview Hearing In the News
Hundreds weigh in on Longview coal train (with video). KOIN News. September 17, 2013.
Coal opponent: Nothing good about it. The Daily News. September 17, 2013.