Speakers passionate about new jobs or the environment were ready to face off Tuesday in Longview in the first public hearing on a proposed coal export terminal.
The $643 million Millennium Bulk Terminals rail dock is supported by business and labor interests who favor the benefits of trade. It's opposed by 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. Four other hearings on the Longview project will be held in the next month at 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.