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Millennium Meeting

Posted on 26th August 2011 at 08:07

About 250 people attended last night’s Public Interest Forum on the proposed Millenium Bulk Terminals coal export facility at the old Reynolds Metals plant, with opponents of the facility squaring off against the project’s backers. Dan Serres with Columbia Riverkeeper says that Millenium Bulk and its parent company, Arch Coal, simply can’t be trusted to keep the site and surrounding community safe. Serres points to internal documents showing that Millennium was intending to develop a facility that’s much larger than the 5 million-ton export terminal that was first applied for. He also claims that coal dust is a problem in every single coal-handling facility in the country, and that there’s no reason to expect that things would be different here. Serres and Gayle Kiser with Landowners and Citizens for a Safe Community both say that they want “cleanup before development,” saying that just getting the facility cleaned up will help to provide more than 100 good jobs to the community for several years. Millennium CEO Ken Miller says that the cleanup of the site is already under way, and they remain committed to developing a clean and safe operation. Miller and Environmental Manager Kristen Gaines say that several cleanup projects have already been completed, and several more should be under way in the next 30 to 45 days. They say another eight projects should be permitted in the next six months. Working through the Department of Ecology, Miller and Gaines claim that a full cleanup plan should be developed and under way within the next 12 months. Arranged by the Cowlitz County Commissioners and League of Women Voters, last night’s forum was intended as an information session, intended to help people get clear information on the proposed project.