Big coal terminal planned on Columbia River

  • Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 5:37pm
  • News

Associated Press

LONGVIEW — A Longview company that withdrew plans last year for a Columbia River terminal to ship 5.7 million tons of coal a year to Asia has come back with big plans for a $600 million terminal to ship 44 million tons a year.

Millennium Bulk Terminals plans to use the former Reynolds Metals aluminum site to load bulk ships for Asia with trainloads of coal from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming.

It would be the largest such coal terminal in North America, The Daily News of Longview reported (

Millennium filed paperwork Thursday with the Cowlitz County planning department. It also needs permits from the Corps of Engineers and clean air agencies.

Millennium expects to complete an environmental study within two years, CEO Ken Miller said in an interview with the paper.

The company would install spray towers to limit the amount of coal dust, Miller said.

“I have no qualms about putting dust monitors out here to ensure that we meet standards,” Miller said.

A threatened lawsuit from neighborhood groups last summer prompted Millennium to withdraw its original plan. Miller says Millennium is prepared for opposition this time.

“We would expect questions to be raised,” Miller said.

Brett VandenHeuval of the conservation group Columbia Riverkeeper said he would be asking local and state officials to deny the proposal.

“The impacts to the communities, not only Longview, but all along the Columbia River, are too great,” he told The Associated Press. “We don’t want to be a conduit for dirty coal to China.”

The terminal would be fed by as many as 16 trains a day — trains as long as eight miles. It would be built in two phases over five years to reach full capacity. A new dock would be large enough for two ships at a time.

Millennium bought the buildings and equipment on the Reynolds site in January 2011 for $10.9 million. The land is owned by Alcoa Corp., which is responsible for cleaning up soil and groundwater contamination.