Earlier this year, northwest environmentalists and an impressive array of elected officials lobbied the US Army Corps of Engineers and the State Department of Ecology to thoroughly review all of the environmental and economic impacts before permitting the world's largest coal export terminal to be built at Cherry Point, outside of Bellingham, Washington. The activists' efforts were met with mixed results: The feds basically said "Haha, nope!" while the department of ecology was like, "sure thing, friend."
Now they're doing it all over again, this time targeting another coal export terminal proposed for Longview, Washington. Like the Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point, the proposed $643 million Millennium Bulk Terminals facility will take coal arriving by train from Montana and Wyoming and ship it to Asia.
Today, 21 state legislators, led by Representative Reuven Carlyle (D-36), submitted an eight-page letter asking that county, state, and federal agencies thoroughly review the cumulative impacts of plunking a terminal along the Columbia river. Specifically, they ask that agencies take into account the proposed Cherry Point terminal (and another terminal planned for Oregon), when reviewing environmental and economic impacts—including congested rail crossings, impacts to current freight and passenger rail, traffic impacts, effects on property values along rail lines, net employment changes, noise, air pollution, and greenhouse gas effects, among other things.
From the letter:
In addition to the discrete impacts list above, we strongly urge the agencies to analyze the effects of the MBTL project cumulatively, in light of existing coal export proposals and other potential bulk fuel export projects in the Pacific Northwest. These additional projects will almost certainly have similar impacts (in type if not in extent), and the potential aggregate impacts should be analyzed in the environmental review process. The very nature of a comprehensive assessment requires a cumulative assessment that accurately identifies and analyzes the externalities of multi-site proposals. Only through a comprehensive and thorough review process can all affected parties understand and assess the scope of the project.
It seems like a pretty obvious ask, and yet judging by the feds' reaction to just this kind of thorough, data-driven review process at Cherry Point, it still needs to be said. Repeatedly. Today is the last day to submit public testimony on the terminal proposal—they've already received over 165,000 public comments. You can pile on your thoughts over here.