Submission Number: MBTL-SEPA-DEIS-0003389
Received: 6/14/2016 12:45:10 AM
Commenter: Mary Throne
Agency: Cowlitz County and the Washington Department of Ecology
Initiative: Millennium Bulk-Terminals Longview SEPA DEIS
Attachments: No Attachments
Millennium Bulk Terminals EIS
c/o ICF International
710 Second Avenue, Suite 550
Seattle, WA 98104
RE: Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview Proposed Action – Public Comment
The Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview, LLC (Millennium) is proposing to design, build and operate a marine terminal for export of coal in Cowlitz County, Washington. I am the Minority Floor Leader in the Wyoming House of Representatives and have served in the legislature since 2007. I am submitting the following letter in support of the project.
As lawmakers and citizens, it is our responsibility to ensure the Millennium project and high paying jobs it creates are given a fair and reasonable review through your process. In Wyoming, we have a long history of developing our resources in an environmentally sustainable manner that has produced good paying jobs for our state. We long ago rejected the false jobs vs. environment narrative. I believe the Millennium project can move forward to build a secure and healthy long- term future for the region and its families, without sacrificing commitment to environmental protection at home or abroad.
Coal is a reliable and economically efficient energy source that will continue to be used for decades. The Department of Energy’s Annual Energy Outlook 2015 predicts U.S. coal production could potentially increase 60 million tons by 2040. Wyoming itself produced over 375 million tons of coal last year, and the financial contribution to state and local governments in the form of taxes, royalties and fees was approximately $1 billion. Wyoming’s share of federal mineral royalties – royalties paid to mine the leased coal - was over $200 million. These revenue streams pay for K-12 school construction, highways, social services and higher education construction and operational funding.
As a strong supporter of union members and railroad employees, I know the frustration that delays in projects such as these can create for communities who need these jobs the most. Regulatory delays stifle the creation of unionized jobs, particularly in the marine, port, rail, and building trade-related industries. These bulk multi-commodity export projects, with ongoing operations, feeder rail lines and other services, will provide just the stimulus needed to get many of these people back to work.
Two members of my caucus, Representative Ken Esquibel, Minority Whip, and Representative Stan Blake had the opportunity to participate in a tour of port facilities in Washington State that put into perspective the need to make the right decisions regarding our region’s future, particularly when it comes to trade. Their tour of the Port of Seattle and Millennium Bulk Terminals in Longview, Washington represent two vital regional infrastructure hubs directly tied to the fate of Wyoming’s – and the entire Pacific Northwest’s – economic future. We are a region dependent on the northwest corridor trade infrastructure to survive. After having seen the project in person, it was clear to my colleagues that Millennium should be given the regulatory approval to proceed with the rehabilitation of the existing shuttered site to allow for a new use as a coal port terminal.
Wyoming has been an international leader in being a good steward of the environment in the development of our natural resources. The Powder River Basin of Wyoming has become the largest coal-producing region in the country and through the application of strict air quality controls and careful monitoring has maintained air quality in the region even with dramatic increases in coal production. The Powder River Basin is in attainment for particulate and other criteria pollutants, despite arguably being the most industrialized region of our state. Trains cross our state every day and travel through our communities without any adverse impacts due to coal dust from rail transportation.
Included in Wyoming’s efforts to protect the environment, we have been a leader among states for clean coal research to ensure we will continue to be environmental stewards of our natural resources and their use. For example:
• New developments are expected in Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) technology to further enhance the efficiency of coal-fired generation.
• The University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources is doing research to understand carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) processes.
• In 2012, the Wyoming State Legislature directed $10 million to the University Wyoming School of Energy Resources for clean coal research.
• Since 2007 almost $41 million has been awarded by the Clean Coal Task Force for research in areas such as development of new technologies that reduce emissions from coal, integration of carbon capture technologies, and pilot-scale demonstrations of emerging technologies.
The review of this project must consider the bigger picture for our region, country and the world. The importance of reliable, safe, and effective transportation and trade infrastructure to meet the demands of our region’s businesses is of the utmost importance. Port expansion projects that will enhance infrastructure and business activity produce jobs and economic growth and increase the country's global competitiveness. Millennium is proposed on a brownfield site that could benefit from redevelopment. Families across the region will benefit from the good job opportunities created by increased trade from the port. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement does not identify any impacts justifying rejection of this substantial economic opportunity. The right policy decisions today will secure investments for a better future for the entire region from the eastern plains of Wyoming to Cowlitz County.
Thank you for considering these thoughts on the Millennium project. I am more than happy to provide additional information or answer questions you may have.
Representative Mary Throne
Minority Floor Leader
Wyoming House of Representatives