Millennium Bulk Terminals officials said Thursday they will hire a stevedoring company and longshore workers at their proposed coal dock west of Longview.
Also on Thursday, officials from Millennium and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union jointly announced the union’s formal support for the proposed terminal, which Millennium estimates will support 135 full-time, family wage jobs.
“We’ve worked up close with Millennium for the past two years, and we’re confident in the company’s commitment to be a high-road employer and a positive influence in our community,” the ILWU’s Longview-based Local 21 President Jake Whiteside said in a written statement.
While ILWU officials have spoken favorably of coal docks for the past few years, this latest announcement solidifies political support from labor as the first public hearings on the Millennium project are scheduled to begin next month. In April, Millennium officials announced they would hire Cowlitz County trade union members to build their $643 million terminal, which would support more than 2,000 jobs during construction.
Whiteside said he plans to bring a big contingent of union dock workers to the Sept. 17 hearing at the Cowlitz Expo Center in Longview. Cowlitz County, state and federal regulators are holding five hearings statewide to determine the scope of the environmental review of the Millennium project.
Thousands of people are expected to show up at the hearings, and environmental groups have mounted a massive campaign against West Coast coal exports.
The coal industry suffered a major blow last month when regulators announced the scope of study for the proposed Gateway Pacific coal terminal in Whatcom County. The state Department of Ecology said it will conduct a massive environmental study, including the impacts of increased train traffic and greenhouse gas emissions from coal burning in Asia.
The Millennium project is separate, but industry groups say they’re worried the proposed Longview terminal may face similar hurdles.
The 95-day comment period for scoping the Millennium project begins Friday (Aug. 16) and ends Nov. 18. Regulators will review comments online, through the mail and verbally to determine what factors should be considered for the terminal’s environmental impact statement.