Corps revamps scoping notice for Washington coal export project

The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers will publish in the Sept. 6 Federal Register a revamped notice of intent to prepare and environmental impact statement on the controversial Millennium Bulk Terminals–Longview LLC (MBTL) coal export project.

This is one of a handful of proposed export terminals in Oregon and Washington that have provoked opposition from national environmental groups, concerned around CO2 emissions when the coal is burned in countries around the Pacific Rim, and from local citizens concerned about issues like coal dust blowing off the trains taking this coal, mostly from the Powder River Basin, to these terminals.

MBTL is proposing to construct and operate a shipping facility near Longview, Wash. Corps authorization is required pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. The Corps is working in collaboration with the Cowlitz County Building and Planning Department and the Washington State Department of Ecology (WDOE), to prepare separate federal and state Environmental Impact Statements.

The Sept. 6 notice of intent amends the notice published in the Federal Register on Aug. 14 by providing additional and updated information on a separate but synchronized environmental review and public scoping process. The scoping period for the EIS began Aug. 16. Written comments are due by the closing date of the EIS scoping period on Nov. 18.

The project site is located in Cowlitz County, Wash., in an industrial area along the Columbia River just west of the city of Longview. MBTL proposes to construct the project on approximately 190 acres of a 536-acre site. The project includes construction of two piers in the Columbia River connected by a conveyor and access ramp. One pier would be up to 1,400 feet long and range from approximately 90 to 130 feet wide. The second pier would be approximately 900 feet long and 100 feet wide. Both would be connected to dry land by an access trestle approximately 800 feet long and range in width from up to 35 feet on the north end to up to 60 feet on the south end. The piers and trestle would support two ship loaders.

The shipping facility would include an open-air storage area approximately 75 acres in size serviced by an on-site balloon track system with parking capacity for eight trains. A system of rail-mounted reclaimers would convey coal from the storage area to the loading facility. The terminal would also include rail car unloading facilities, roadways, service buildings, storm water treatment facilities, and utility infrastructure.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.