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Bill Chapman, the President and CEO of Millennium Bulk Terminals, announced Monday he is retiring after a four-year tenure in which the company spent millions seeking permits for its legally mired Longview coal dock.

Millennium spokesman James Canning said Everett King, CEO of Millennium’s parent company Lighthouse Resources, will take over the position Monday. Chapman is about 63 and was not made available to speak to TDN.

Prior to his position at Millennium, Chapman spent nearly 30 years advising corporations and municipalities in permitting and environmental compliance. He was a senior environmental law partner at Seattle firm K&L Gates and had served as Millennium’s senior outside legal counsel starting in 2011, when the company first submitted applications for the Longview coal terminal.

“I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with so many leaders and community members in Longview to support this great project,” Chapman said in the statement Millennium released Monday morning.

The company has been working for seven years and spent about $15 million to get permits for the $680 million project at the former Reynolds Metals aluminum smelter site.

Environmental groups fighting the project argue it would harm air quality, water, fish and health, as well as negatively affect the climate. The project is tied up in multiple legal challenges and appeals, including a federal suit against Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, whose administration denied a water quality certification for the project. Millennium needs 23 federal, state and local permits for the project.

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Millennium’s statement says Chapman’s history in permitting was “critically important to help the project advance, ultimately obtaining an environmental impact statement that shows Millennium is designed to protect air and water quality, fish and wildlife, groundwater and people in accordance with regulatory requirements.” That environmental study was released in April 2017.

Despite hurdles, Chapman said in the statement the project is “well-positioned for success.”

Ted Sprague, president of the Cowlitz Economic Development Council said he doesn’t think Chapman’s departure will undermine the project.

“He’s assembled a really good team over there, and I think they’ll keep it moving forward,” Sprague said.

Columbia Riverkeeper, a Hood River-based environmental group that has fought the coal terminal every step of the way, did not return calls for comment.

Kristin Gaines, Millennium’s senior vice president of regulatory affairs, will lead the efforts to build the terminal, according the company statement.

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