November 2, 2017
Cowlitz County Staff Testifies Millennium Can Meet Criteria for Shoreline Permits
Hundreds Gathered in Support of Millennium’s Shoreline Permits
LONGVIEW, WA – Cowlitz County staff testified, and submitted a report to hearing examiner Mark Scheibmeir, that Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview (MBT) can meet the criteria for the Shoreline Substantial Development and Conditional Use Permits, kicking-off a strong first day of testimony for the Millennium project.
In addition to the County’s testimony, the agenda for the day included presentations from environmental experts, Millennium staff, and a Burlington Northern Santa Fe representative along with a lawyer for project opponents. Local leaders Ted Sprague, President of Cowlitz Economic Development Council, and Mike Bridges, President of the Longview/Kelso Building and Construction Trades Council also provided testimony.
“The Building Trades supports responsible and consistent environmental regulations…we believe that projects like Millennium are essential in the journey towards cleaner sources of energy, and we know that this terminal can be built and operated safely and within the environmental requirements of the law,” Bridges, a Longview resident, testified. “We know what it means to live in an industrial town. And we support Millennium Bulk Terminals and its project in Longview because we know that a new export terminal would bring thousands of new jobs to an area of the state eager to put people back to work.”
Hundreds of Millennium proponents used the hearing’s afternoon break to meet in the Floral Building near the Cowlitz County Expo Center for lunch and to hear from local leaders including: Senator Ann Rivers, Longview Councilmember Mike Wallin, and Bridges addressed the crowded room. Others in attendance included Senator Tim Sheldon and Representative Ed Orcutt.
Public testimony from project proponents and opponents concluded the day. Herb Krohn, Washington State Legislative Director for the Sheet Metal Air Rail Transportation (SMART) Division/United Transportation Union provided the first public comment of the day.
“Trains with coal have been running along this stretch of land since 1903, the line to the Millennium site became an extremely busy rail corridor starting in 1942 when the Reynolds plant was built, coal and its byproducts have been handled on this site since it built – metallurgical coal is a critical ingredient in the making of metals,” Krohn said. “This rail line was the primary means of transporting raw materials that were set out at this same location, as well as the primary means for picking up finished products – the volume of rail traffic was certainly much greater than the expected traffic at Millennium.”
“We were honored to have so many residents, labor and civic leaders, employees, and elected officials standing with us on the first day of the hearing,” said Wendy Hutchinson, Millennium Bulk Terminals’ Vice President of Government and Public Affairs. “Millennium is committed to building and operating this project the right way by meeting the strict environmental laws of Washington State. We’re proud to have proven to so many of our neighbors we are going to fulfill that promise.”
The three to four-day shoreline hearing ending on November 6 or 7 will take place from 9-5 p.m. at the Cowlitz County Expo Center at 1900 7th Avenue in Longview. Millennium and its supporters head into Thursday’s hearing with momentum stemming from project wins last week.