December 11, 2017
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Millennium sues Department of Ecology over alleged manipulation of study

The Washington Department of Ecology has violated the Public Records Act by failing to release essential information that the agency used in formulating its environmental impact statement on the Millennium Bulk Terminals project in Longview, the company said in a lawsuit filed last week against the state agency. The Daily News says the lawsuit is "complex and intriguing, because it implies that the state manipulated study findings so it could reject the coal terminal."

Millennium's lawsuit said that Ecology's own consultant warned against estimating cancer risks for mobile sources using state regulations for stationary sources of diesel emissions. An Ecology project manager rejected that advice, Millennium said, among other allegations about the department ignoring advice from its consultant as it prepared its environmental impact statement.

Former Attorney General Rob McKenna said the company was right to appeal.

“Decisions like these eventually cast doubt on our regulatory process and give potential investors pause before considering operations here in Washington state,” said McKenna. “I support Millennium in their appeal of this decision and hope it shines a bright light on the abuses at work by regulators in our state agencies.”

This lawsuit is in addition to one that Millennium filed against the agency in October over the DOE's move to reject a water quality permit for the facility.

Also last week, Millennium asked the state Shoreline Hearings Board to overturn a decision by a local hearings examiner that rejected two shorelines permits for the project.

In an op-ed last week, Puget Sound Business Journal columnist Bob Wallace said the project should be allowed to proceed: " The proposal is to clean up and redevelop an existing Alcoa Aluminum facility in Longview, turning it into one of the largest export terminals in the region. An estimated 840 ships per year would call at this facility for coal alone, to say nothing of the capacity it might provide for the agricultural products Washington ships around the world. That’s perhaps 25 percent of the traffic at the Port of Seattle, and would be a tremendous boost to the economy of a part of the state where blue collar jobs have been decimated by over-zealous environmental regulations and courts that value owls more than people."

For more information, contact Mary Catherine McAleer, AWB government affairs director for environmental policy.

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