Washington DNR: SSA Marine cleared 9 acres of trees at Cherry Point site without permission

Published on Tue, Aug 16, 2011 by Jeremy Schwartz

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The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has announced SSA Marine, the Seattle-based company seeking to build a $600 million shipping terminal south of Birch Bay, cleared approximately 9 acres of trees at the proposed site of the terminal without acquiring necessary forest practices permits.

DNR sent a notice to comply to SSA Marine describing unpermitted geotechnical work the company did at the Cherry Point site, near the BP Cherry Point refinery. According to the notice, SSA Marine cleared approximately 4 miles of roads that were 15 feet across. These actions are in violation of Washington state law if done without a forest practices permit from DNR.

The notice gives SSA Marine until March 31, 2014, to reforest the land, which, according to state law, means an average 190 healthy saplings per acre must be planted and allowed to grow for one growing season. The notice also bars SSA Marine from doing any more foresting work without the proper DNR permits. DNR will also work with Whatcom County to determine what mitigation needs to be done to repair the damage done to forested wetlands in the area.

DNR director of communications Bryan Flint said the department could seek civil penalties against SSA Marine, but most likely will not since this is the shipping terminal company's first forest practices violation. He said he could not estimate how much reforesting the area could cost SSA Marine.

On August 3, Whatcom County announced it will be fining SSA Marine $2,000 for the roads that were graded at the site without the necessary county permits and for the wetlands that were damaged.  County council member Carl Weimer first made the unpermitted work public after he posted a description of it on his personal blog on July 28.

Click here for a PDF of the notice to comply, which contains an aerial image of the site.

Click here for my last full story on this topic.


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