Submission Number: MBTL-EIS-0001559
Received: 10/31/2013 5:44:57 PM
Commenter: Bryan Anderson
Agency: Cowlitz County, the Washington Department of Ecology, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Initiative: Millennium Bulk-Terminals Longview EIS
Attachments: No Attachments
I fully support approval of the Millennium Bulk Terminal project consistent with applicable building codes. The EIS for this project should be as limited as allowed by law.
The goal of the proposed project is simple: to build a terminal for transporting coal.
Despite this seemingly simple goal, there is a flurry of opposition to the project. Much of the opposition is based on irrational environmental concerns.
I don't mean to suggest that there will be no environmental impacts associated with the project. Indeed, any construction activities produce some environmental impact. However, it is unfair to object to this project because its purpose is to ship coal overseas.
It seems many objectors would be okay with the project if it was, perhaps, a project to ship automotive parts or food products to foreign countries.
Here are some points I would ask the governing agencies to consider.
1. The EIS should not assume the project will increase greenhouse gas emissions because coal will be shipped to the terminal via rail. Indeed, emissions would be produced regardless of the product being shipped at the terminal. For instance, if the project was designed to ship automotive parts, various parts would be shipped to the terminal from across the U.S.
2. Similarly, the EIS should not have to deal with the effects of burning coal in foreign countries. Some comments have suggested that because the terminal ships coal abroad, and foreign countries (e.g. China) have lax environmental laws, the EIS should place responsibility for coal emissions from coal shipped out of the terminal on the terminal owner. This is wrong for many reasons.
First, this is a violation of the sovereignty of foreign states. Every country should be able to make its own environmental laws, and if certain comments believe China's environmental laws are sub par, they should turn to the UN or China's ambassadors to urge either change in China's law or the establishment of international environmental standards.
Second, most of the comments object to the transportation of coal in particular. Would these comments object to the export of engines, for example? How about transmissions? Mirrors for (gas-guzzling) cars? Does any product that could cause any environmental harm (or in any way contribute to environmental issues) require the shipper to prepare an EIS for his or her shipping terminal? The answer is absolutely "no."
3. The EIS should be as limited as possible because the proposal is for a "garden variety" shipping terminal, no different than others in the Cowlitz County area. Once again, I object to the terminal being held to higher environmental standards or having more environmental impacts on the EIS because it is shipping coal. Other terminals on the Columbia River (and throughout Washington) ship all kinds of products throughout the world. Coal is already being shipped overseas, and will be regardless of whether this project is approved.
4. Economic necessity and job creation should be an essential part of the EIS. Washington State has one of the highest rate of home foreclosures in our Nation. Southwest Washington is particularly in need of jobs as it transitions from its dependence on the timber industry. If this project is not approved, U.S. coal will merely be shipped from a different terminal, perhaps one in Canada or Mexico. That means Southwest Washington will lose out on tens of millions of dollars in economic stimulus from this project. Stimulus includes money spent in small businesses who cater to the construction workers and employees of the terminal. There is also a huge amount of taxes that would be generated by both the construction of the terminal and the terminal itself. Job creation and increased tax revenues will allow Southwest Washington agencies to invest in parks, recreation facilities, public safety, and quality of life for their residents.
Please consider economic development and disregard greenhouse gas and coal transport