LONGVIEW — A strong contingent of union members and their families turned out for a public hearing Sept. 17 to voice their support for a coal export facility being proposed by Millennium Bulk Terminals. The company wants to build a $643 million terminal at the former Reynolds Aluminum smelter at the Port of Longview.
Cowlitz County, state, and federal regulators are holding five public hearings in Washington to determine the scope of the environmental review of the project. The Sept. 17 public hearing filled the Cowlitz Expo Center with about 2,000 supporters and opponents. Environmental groups have mounted a massive campaign against all proposed West Coast coal export terminals.
The hearing lasted more than six hours.
Millennium will build the facility without any public subsidies, it will hire union construction workers and, once completed, it will staff the terminal with members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. It is estimated that the project will generate more than 2,000 jobs during construction and 135 full-time jobs once the terminal is up and running.
“This is exactly the type of private investment we need in our community,” said Longview City Councilman Mike Wallin.
Union officials said that local voices from workers are a vital part of the process. They are asking union members to attend the next public hearing Wednesday, Oct. 9, at the Clark County Fairgrounds in Vancouver. The hearing runs from noon to 8 p.m.
The 95-day comment period for scoping the Millennium project ends Nov. 18. Regulators will review comments online, through the mail, and verbally.
For more information, contact Jeffery Washburn, president of the Longview/Kelso Building and Construction Trades Council, at 360- 577-0535, or by email at jwashburn@ ua26.org; or Mike Bridges, secretary-treasurer, at 360-431-1472, or by email at email@example.com.