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Washington state solicits input on crude-by-rail rules, coal facility

Washington state's Department of Ecology is seeking public comments on two proposed rules related to crude oil transported by rail. The first proposed rule establishes notice requirements for facilities that receive crude oil by rail and pipelines. In the event of an oil spill, the department would share the information with local communities. The second rule describes contingency planning requirements for railroads that transport crude or refined oil. The plans would show that railroads are prepared to immediately respond to a spill. The department will accept comments on both rules through June 10. In May and June, the department will hold public hearings on the rule proposals in Spokane, Everett and Vancouver.

Meanwhile, the department and Cowlitz County will release a draft environmental impact statement for the Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview LLC's proposed coal export terminal on April 29. Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview is proposing the construction and operation of a terminal to export coal from the site of the former Reynolds Aluminum smelter in Cowlitz County. The terminal would be served by rail. "We know there's a lot of interest and anticipation for this environmental review, so we want people to know it's coming out soon so they can be a part of the review process," said Sally Toteff, director of the department's Southwest Regional Office. Once released, the document can be downloaded at The department will accept written public comment, as well as comments presented at public hearings in May and June.

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