Submission Number: MBTL-SEPA-DEIS-0000865
Received: 5/24/2016 2:24:46 PM
Commenter: Dave Bean
Agency: Cowlitz County and the Washington Department of Ecology
Initiative: Millennium Bulk-Terminals Longview SEPA DEIS
Attachments: No Attachments
Millennium’s proposed coal export terminal would cause unmitigable harm to the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and communities throughout the Northwest, with the most intense impacts felt in Longview, Washington near the proposed terminal site. The project harms our health and safety, air and water quality, and natural resources. Your agencies must protect public health and the environment by rejecting this coal export terminal.
Climate Change: Washington State is a national leader in the fight to combat climate change. Even if the agencies only considered the rail and vessel emissions from transporting 44 million tons of coal a year, this project would be one of the biggest greenhouse gas emitters in Washington State. Coal export undermines the state’s hard work to combat climate change and protect future generations.
Health & the Environment: The Draft EIS reveals many intolerable serious impacts to human health and the environment. It dismisses other impacts without a valid basis. The agencies should incorporate the best available science, real world examples, and the Health Impact Assessment in the Final EIS.
Coal Dust: Every loaded train that would deliver coal to this facility would pass through the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area in uncovered cars. There is already a well-documented issue with coal dust blowing and falling off existing coal trains and contaminating the air and water. At some key sites in the Columbia River Gorge the problem is so severe that coal accumulates in inches-thick layers from the tracks to the banks of the Columbia River. Coal is being discharged directly into the Columbia River and its tributaries in violation of the Clean Water Act. Coal is extremely toxic and this dust contributes both to respiratory illness and contamination of the natural environment and aquatic life. The DEIS fails to adequately consider the amount of coal dust discharged from coal trains, the impacts of this coal dust on the scenic, natural, cultural and recreation resources of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, and the clear violations of the federal Clean Water Act that would result from the project.
Impacts on Protected Regions: The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is just one of many protected and sensitive areas that would be negatively impacted by coal trains that would service this facility. Wetlands, wildlife refuges, state parks, tribal fishing areas, critical fish, wildlife and plant habitat, recreation, and scenic resources would be harmed by the impacts of this facility, its trains, and the expansion of rail lines needed to accommodate the increase in rail traffic.
Rail Traffic: The Draft EIS demonstrates Millennium would have a severe impact on rail and road congestion. Because Millennium cannot fix this significant harm, from mine to terminal, the agencies should deny permits.
Weak & Unenforceable Mitigation: In some instances, the Draft EIS claims mitigation can reduce coal dust, rail traffic, and other project impacts. For example, to mitigate coal dust from the terminal, the Draft EIS proposes a reporting process for coal dust complaints. This is unacceptable. A phone call or email to complain about coal dust fouling a person’s lungs, home, and river is not “mitigation.” The agencies should revise the Draft EIS and remove inadequate, unsupported, and unenforceable mitigation statements from the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Millennium’s proposed coal export terminal would cause unmitigable harm to the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and communities throughout the Northwest, with the most intense impacts felt in Longview, Washington near the proposed terminal site. The project harms our health and safety, air and water quality, and natural resources. Urge your agencies to protect public health and the environment by rejecting this coal export terminal.