Supporters wore blue. Opponents wore red.
Hundreds of people from Oregon and Washington gathered at a public hearing in Longview Tuesday to offer their views on the proposed Millennium Coal Terminal.
“We will show all of you doubters that it’s possible to have a world class coal export terminal that doesn’t pollute our environment," said Dave Gillihan, a Millennium worker in Longview who said he support the project. "Longview has some of the highest unemployment rates in the state. 'We can do better' isn’t true. Your pot shops and hamburger stands do not provide family wage jobs with great benefits.”
Others supporters included Washington State Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, and Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas, who both testified in favor of the terminal.
Many others spoke out against the project, raising concerns about health, safety and climate change.
Peggy Bruetin, from Olympia, said she opposes the coal terminal because it will contribute to climate change.
“On a daily basis were finding out that we have a shorter and shorter window when we can do anything at all to avert disaster," she said. "What are we even talking about more coal?”
If built, the terminal would export 44 million tons of coal from the inter-mountain West through Longview, and on to Asia.
The project would lead to greenhouse gas emissions and traffic congestion, according to a draft environmental impact statement the Washington Department of Ecology released in April.
That report said it’s not possible to alleviate all of the environmental damage the terminal might cause. According to one environmental group, the greenhouse gas emissions would be equivalent at least five or more coal fired power plants.
The Department of Ecology has another hearing scheduled Thursday in Spokane and a final one in early June in Pasco.