Department of archeology says SSA Marine needed archeology permit for Cherry Point work

Published on Wed, Oct 5, 2011 by Jeremy Schwartz

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The Seattle-based shipping terminal company that performed unpermitted surveying work at the site proposed for the $600 million Gateway Pacific Terminal also needed permission from the state department of archeology.

SSA Marine, who Whatcom County and state agencies have faulted for clearing about 9 acres of dirt roads through forested areas and wetlands at the Cherry Point site just south of Birch Bay, has now drawn the ire of the Washington State Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP). The work felled trees and graded roads at the site, all without permission from Whatcom County or state and federal agencies.

Earlier today, Robert Whitlam, a state archeologist with the DAHP, sent a letter to Whatcom County planning supervisor Tyler Schroeder and Chris Jenkins from the Seattle office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Whitlam wrote that since a state-recognized archeological site exists on the Cherry Point property, SSA Marine also needed a permit from DAHP to do surveying work that disturbed the ground. State law requires such a permit to be obtained from the DAHP if archeological sites could possibly be disturbed during any construction work.

Whitlam expressed concern that the site mitigation plan proposed by SSA Marine contains no mention of repair to any damage to archeological resources the surveying work may have caused. Whitlam cited a report SSA Marine prepared detailing the damage done to the archeological site in question. The site has historical significance to the Lummi and Nooksack tribes.


For my more complete write-up of the latest developments with the Gateway Pacific Terminal, click here.

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