Cherry Point EIS comment period gets underway

Published on Thu, Sep 27, 2012 by Carissa Wright

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Residents can now officially have their say on what should be studied in the Gateway Pacific Terminal site’s environmental impact statement (EIS). The public comment period for the scoping process began September 24 and will end January 21, 2013.

The EIS will be a joint effort of Whatcom County, the Washington Department of Ecology and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Colorado-based environmental firm CH2M Hill will produce the EIS, which will comply with both National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Washington State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) requirements.

During the scoping process, the public is invited to comment on what should be covered in the EIS document, including alternatives, affected resources, adverse impacts and measures to avoid, minimize or mitigate effects of the proposed action.

The approximately 350-acre terminal, proposed by Seattle-based SSA Marine, would annually transfer up to 48 million tons of coal and other bulk materials from trains to bulk transport ships at the terminal’s deep-water wharf. The terminal’s construction would affect several critical areas, including wetlands and streams.

The Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Custer spur would service the terminal, and BNSF is proposing to upgrade the existing rail line with additional tracks and sidings. Those upgrades will also be considered in the NEPA/SEPA combined EIS.
Interested parties can make comments online at

A series of public scoping meetings is also scheduled, with meetings taking place as far away as Spokane and as near as Ferndale. The Ferndale meeting will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 29 in the Ferndale Events Center. 

Public scoping meetings

Each public scoping meeting will cover the same information. Those interested are also invited to view the information to be presented online here.

Saturday, October 27
Squalicum High School
3773 McLeod Road

Saturday, November 3
Friday Harbor High School
45 Blair Avenue
Friday Harbor

Monday, November 5
McIntyre Hall
2501 College Way
Mount Vernon

Tuesday, November 13
North Seattle Community College Wellness Center Gym
9600 College Way North

Thursday, November 29
Ferndale Events Center
5715 Barrett Road

Tuesday, December 4
Spokane County Fairgrounds
404 Havana Street
Spokane Valley

Wednesday, December 12
Clark College, Gaiser Student Center
1933 Fort Vancouver Way