Five hearings are planned across Washington in the next month to take public comment on a proposed coal export terminal at Longview.
The Daily News reports thousands of people are expected at the first hearing Tuesday in Longview.
The $643 million Millennium Bulk Terminals dock pits business and labor interests who favor jobs against environmental groups who are concerned about dust and traffic congestion locally and the effect of burning coal globally.
Ambre Energy wants to ship coal from Montana and Wyoming to markets in Asia. Other hearings on the Longview project will be held in Spokane, Pasco, Vancouver and Tacoma.
Two other coal export terminals are under consideration in the Northwest -- another rail terminal near Bellingham and a barge terminal on the Columbia River near Clatskanie.