County, state and federal officials told the crowd that the process of taking public input won't begin in earnest until this summer.
Seattle-based SSA Marine wants to build a terminal near Bellingham that would ship millions of tons of coal from Montana and Wyoming to Asia. The company says it would create thousands of jobs and generate millions in tax and other revenues.
The terminal would be built within the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve. Opponents say it would harm water quality and herring spawning grounds. They also worry about increased train traffic, such as through Marysville.
Whatcom County received several permit applications from the company on Monday. The project needs various approvals, including from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Information from: The Bellingham Herald, http://www.bellinghamherald.com
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