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Thursday Public Hearing in Spokane on Proposed Coal Shipment Terminal in Western Washington

Patrick Dirden via flickr
Westbound Washington Coal Train

Washington Department of Ecology officials will be holding a public hearing in Spokane on Thursday on a proposed coal shipment terminal on the state’s west side.

Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview is proposing to build and operate a terminal that would handle up to 44 million metric tons of coal annually. The coal, which would be shipped via rail through Spokane from Wyoming, would eventually be shipped to Asia.

Ecology department spokesman Dave Bennett says they are looking for comment on the draft Environmental Impact Statement, which includes specific concerns and how they will be addressed by the company.

“...greenhouse gas emissions, coal dust, rail traffic, ship traffic up and down the Columbia, local impacts like noise and added congestion to the community.”

Bennett says because both supporters and detractors plan to bring in many supporters for their cause, the Department of Ecology will set up a drawing so only a certain number of people will be allowed to testify.

“Some people will not have an opportunity to get up. What we are trying to do is to limit the line standing in the morning so that one group or another can’t stack the deck against each other. What we're trying to do is give everyone an opportunity to speak their minds.”

Bennett says it’s still possible for anyone to comment on the Department of Ecology’s website with their concerns about impacts the terminal may have.

The comments will be used to help develop a final Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed terminal.

The hearing will begin at 1:00 pm Thursday at the Spokane Convention Center. A brief presentation on the proposal will be given at 1:00 pm and again at 5:00 pm, with public testimony taken throughout the day. The comments will be limited to two minutes for each person.

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.