LONGVIEW, Wash. --Thousands of coal supporters and opponents showed up at the Cowlitz Expo Center Tuesday to tell state and federal authorities what they think of a proposed Southwest Washington coal terminal.
Testimony went on for seven hours Tuesday, in front of local and federal officials.
Millennium Bulk Terminals wants to build a $600 million coal export facility at the Port of Longview on the Columbia River. If built, the terminal would move up to 44 million tons of coal a year from Montana and Wyoming via railcar and export it to Asia.
“My neighbors and I breathe toxic air from the pulp and paper mills at our doorstep,” said opponent Dawn Hanson. “We don’t want to also breathe coal dust laced with mercury, arsenic and lead.”
Wendy Hutchinson is VP of Public Affairs for Millennium Bulk Terminals.
“We just want a fair review process,” said Hutchinson. “We want it to be thorough and to answer all the public’s questions and the regulator’s questions.”
Mike Bridges, a union electrician said "We have kind of all of our eggs in one basket with pulp and paper. It can't support the whole town like it used to."
Cowlitz County already has a high rate of lung disease, said Longview resident Dr. Leeann Gekas. "I'm concerend about the effect of coal dust in the air, as well as the diesel from trains coming through every day."
Tuesday night's was the first of five hearings planned across Washington in the next month.