Cowlitz County and Ecology were co-lead agencies that prepared an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). The final SEPA EIS is posted on the co-leads' joint website.
In September 2017, the Department of Ecology denied a water quality certification sought by Millennium Bulk Terminals to construct and operate the largest coal export terminal in North America. Our reasons for denying the water quality certification were based on two laws: The Federal Clean Water Act and the Washington State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).
- Under the Clean Water Act, the permit application and supporting documents submitted by the company did not provide reasonable assurance that the project would meet state water quality standards.
- Under the State Environmental Policy Act, the project would have resulted in unavoidable and adverse impacts to the local environment, transportation, public health, the local community, and tribal resources. These impacts cannot be mitigated.
We regulate water and hazardous waste activities for Millennium's current operations. Millennium uses an existing dock to import bulk alumina by vessel, which is stored on-site and transported to an Alcoa smelter in Wenatchee when in operation. The site is also used to import a small amount of coal by rail for use by the neighboring Nippon pulp and paper mill.
Cleaning up the existing site is our first priority for the property. We oversee work being done by Northwest Alloys-Alcoa and Millennium to investigate and clean up the site under the state’s Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA). Cleanup efforts at the site are already in progress and are handled separately from the coal export terminal proposal.
Proposed export terminal
A maximum of 44 million metric tons of coal would have been brought to the site from mines in the western U.S. by 16, 1.3-mile-long unit trains per day (eight loaded and eight empty). The coal would have been stored at the facility in open coal stockpiles, and then loaded on to 840 ships annually for export to Asia.
The final environmental impact statement was issued on April 28, 2017. The EIS is not a permit. It is not an approval or denial of the project. The final EIS responds to more than 267,000 public comments made on the draft EIS and provides a methodical and unbiased assessment of the probable, significant, and adverse impacts from the proposal. Each comment was read and responded to. Nearly 2,000 people attended three hearings held across the state.
You can read the draft and final EIS documents and get additional information about the Millennium project .