County and Department of Ecology will co-lead Cherry Point terminal review

Published on Fri, Jul 15, 2011 by Jeremy Schwartz

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As the last post for this Friday afternoon, I present two letters: one from Whatcom County to the Washington State Department of Ecology, and one from the department of ecology to the county. Earlier today, county planning supervisor Tyler Schroeder sent a letter to ecology director Ted Sturdevant requesting that the department of ecology become a co-lead agency in the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review of the Gateway Pacific Terminal proposed by Seattle-based SSA Marine.

Later that same day (government action can apparently be really quick sometimes) Sturdevant sent a letter in reply to Schroeder saying yes. Sturdevant said in his letter that the two entities had been discussing this issue for the past few months. Both entities agreed in the letters that the agreement to become co-lead agencies will make the environmental review of the Gateway Pacific Terminal run more efficiently since the county and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are already co-leads on the National Environmental Review (NEPA) process. The involved agencies and SSA Marine  have agreed to a joint SEPA/NEPA review process and environmental impact statement (EIS), which will study the terminal's potential impacts in addition to options for offsetting them.

In a press release sent out with the letters, department of ecology public relations officer Larry Altose said the co-lead agencies will now prepare for the EIS scoping phase, which sets out the issues the EIS will address. This is where the public has the chance to give their opinion on what the EIS should study. The county, department of ecology and Army Corps of Engineers plan to submit a scoping document for public review and comment later this year.

For a PDF of the county's letter, click here. For a PDF of the department of ecology's letter, click here.


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