The proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals coal terminal in Longview — one of the three surviving coal export projects proposed in the Northwest — gets its first big public airing Tuesday, Sept. 17.

The Washington Department of Ecology will hold an all-day session at the Cowlitz Expo Center in Longview, and supporters and opponents are expected to be out in force.

Ambre Energy North America and Arch Coal submitted an application to convert the former Reynolds Aluminum smelter into a coal export facility capable of handling 44 million metric tons of coal annually.

The state ecology department will hold an open house from noon to 8 p.m., where staff will be on hand to answer questions. There will be two oral comment periods, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Written comments will be accepted as well.

Power Past Coal, a coalition opposed to the project, holds a press conference and rally at 4 p.m. at Memorial Park, directly outside the Expo Center at 1900 7th Ave.

For more information about the proposal:

Environmentalists and health advocates are strongly opposed to all three coal export projects, due to the heavy air pollution caused by burning coal and the huge carbon footprint of coal-fired plants.

Business and labor groups have supported the projects, citing the jobs and spinoff economic benefits they might bring to the Northwest.

There are growing signs that the expected boom in U.S. coal exports may not materialize.

Three other proposed coal export facilities have been dropped in recent months.

And there are recent indications that China, concerned about intractable air pollution, will scale back its plans to expand use of coal and seek cleaner, renewable energy sources.

Steve Law can be reached at 503-546-5139 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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