The agency released a harsh critique of the draft environmental review of the proposed Longview coal terminal.
An Army Corps of Engineers draft report failed to adequately address diesel pollution, rail congestion, greenhouse-gas emissions and other significant environmental impacts of a proposed coal-export terminal in Longview, according to a harsh critique from the Environmental Protection Agency regional administrator.
In a Nov. 29 letter, the EPA’s Dennis McLerran said the Army Corps’ review is so flawed it failed to meet federal requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act — and should be substantially revised.
The proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals would be the largest in the nation, capable of exporting up to 44 million metric tons annually of western Powder River Basin coal to Asia. The project has faced tough environmental opposition in Washington, and struggled amid a downturn in coal markets that has eroded the economics of shipping U.S. coal to Asia.
McLerran said the EPA as far back as 2013 recommended the Corps take a broad look at the project’s environmental impacts, including what it would mean to have coal trains traverse the region. He said the Corps instead adapted an “inappropriately narrow” scope.
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Brett VandenHeuvel, executive director of Columbia Riverkeeper, said the Corps review also ignored suggestions from tribes, cities and environmental groups to take a wider look at the terminal’s impacts.