On April 29, Cowlitz County released its highly-anticipated draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the Millennium Bulk Terminals Project in Longview. The analysis conducted by Washington state’s Department of Ecology examines potential effects the proposed project would have on the local environment.
The release of the report—nearly four years in the making—has been heralded by stakeholders as a “critical” step forward to bolster economic strength in Washington and ensure clarity and timeliness in the state’s regulatory review process.
Todd Myers, an environmental policy analyst at the Washington Policy Center, told Don Jenkins with the Capital Press:
“A regulator is supposed to be clear and objective. In this case, the regulation is far from clear and far from being an objective standard and has become an arbitrary tool.…Ecology’s suggestions are probably the most expensive things that you can do and do almost nothing for the environment.”
Lee Newgent, executive secretary of the Washington Building & Construction Trades Council, hit home the economic benefits of the proposal in a statement published in the Bellevue Business Journal:
“Working families in Washington state have been waiting for more than four years already.…The Millennium project will bring much-needed, family-wage jobs to the people of Southwest Washington. This community needs the skilled labor and apprenticeship opportunities Millennium will provide for workers who want to live and raise their families in the Longview area.”
Additionally, Bill Marcum, president of the Kelso-Longview Chamber of Commerce, expressed his hope for the project to The Longview Daily News:
“I think businesses are already coming in, and it’s been on the docket for four years to build.”
And Kris Johnson, president of the Association of Washington Business, applauded the release of the draft EIS but underscored the need for reform in the state’s regulatory review process.
“Washington’s regulatory process has become longer and more uncertain, which sends the wrong message to employers. We are glad to see today’s release of the draft EIS for Millennium, but remain concerned other companies will not be willing to tolerate the delays of Washington’s permitting system and will not bring the needed investment to our state.”
Friday’s release of the nearly 4,000-page document also notably kicks off a 45-day public comment period—now through June 13—allowing citizens and organizations to provide critical input on Millennium. Comments can be submitted via mail, online or in person at one of three public hearings. Details for the hearings are as follows:
Cowlitz County | Tuesday, May 24, 2016, 1-9p.m.
- Cowlitz County Event Center , 1900 7th Ave., Longview
Spokane | Thursday, May 26, 2016, 1-9 p.m.
- Spokane Convention Center , 334 W Spokane Falls Blvd., Spokane
Pasco | Thursday, June 2, 2016, 1-9 p.m.
- TRAC Center 6600 Burden Blvd., Pasco
The $680 million project is projected to create as many as 2,625 direct and indirect construction jobs, on top of nearly $6 million in new state and local tax capital.
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