Cowlitz County says coal permit should be approved, with conditions

first_imgLONGVIEW — After years of studying the $680 million Millennium coal project, Cowlitz County is recommending approval of two shoreline permits as long as the company can meets 36 conditions meant to ease its environmental and social impacts.County planning staff submitted a 79-page staff report to a hearings examiner Thursday. The report outlines why the project should be approved under condition that Millennium controls coal dust, compensates for wetland losses and reduces locomotives and vessels emissions, among other requirements.A few hundred people in red and blue shirts descended on the Cowlitz County Expo Center Thursday for the start of a four-day public hearing on the shoreline permits. Pro-Millennium and anti-coal groups hosted competing lunchtime rallies with speeches from government officials, activists and community members.The countyapproved a critical areas permit for the terminal in July, but the shoreline permits are considered a more significant hurdle.In the quasi-judicial hearing, Millennium presented oral arguments defending its project to hearing examiner Mark Scheibmeir. Counter arguments from Columbia Riverkeeper as an intervening party of record followed. Public testimony and cross examination is expected to continue today, Monday and Tuesday.Once the hearing ends next Tuesday, Scheibmeir has 10 business days to decide whether to grant Millennium a conditional use permit and substantial shoreline development permit for the project, which would be built on the old Reynolds Metals site west of Longview.last_img

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