Cowlitz County Coal Export Terminal

At a Glance:

Location: Cowlitz, Washington

Date: 2018

Vital Condition: Basic Needs for Health and Safety, Belonging and Civic Muscle, Humane Housing, Meaningful Work and Wealth, Reliable Transportation, Thriving Natural World

Determinants of Health: nutrition, food access, affordable housing, healthcare access, transit system, active transportation, traffic safety, clean air, employment, neighborhood safety, belonging and civic muscle, meaningful work and wealth, noise, clean water, physical activity, housing, built environment

Affected Population: N/A

Research Methods: Quantitative research, Qualitative research, Primary research, GIS mapping, Focus Groups, Literature review

Community Types: urban, suburban, rural

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Millennium Bulk Terminals is proposing to construct and operate a coal export terminal on a 190-acre site along the Columbia River in Cowlitz County, Washington. The terminal would receive rail shipments of coal from the Powder River and the Uinta basins, which would then be transported by ship on the Columbia River and Pacific Ocean to overseas markets. Beginning in 2028, an expected 44 million metric tons of coal would transit the site each year, with anticipated stockpiles housed across 75 acres.

An interdisciplinary team considered the health and safety implications related to the potential transportation, storage, and handling of coal as described in the proposal. The HIA focused on neighborhoods near the proposed terminal, as well as communities and community facilities along the BNSF rail line in Cowlitz County.

Analysis was performed on 15 questions developed by the public Steering Committee. These questions reflect a wide range of topical concerns, and are categorized into the following thematic areas:

  1. Air quality
  2. Economic health and prosperity
  3. Taxes and municipal budgets
  4. Contingency planning for closures
  5. Climate change and community health concerns
  6. Traffic delays, and noise and vibration impacts
  7. Recreation and fisheries
  8. Drinking water quality
  9. Local food and crops
  10. Baseline health and health equity

This Health Impact Assessment Report first appeared in The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health. The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health was originally developed by the Health Impact Project, formerly a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The creation of this resource was supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pew Charitable Trusts, or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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