Department of Ecology News Release - January 12, 2012


Bids invited for environmental review of proposed Cherry Point terminal

BELLINGHAM – Whatcom County, the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) have requested bids from environmental consultants for support in preparing the agencies’ Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate a proposed bulk cargo marine terminal at Cherry Point in north Puget Sound and construct related railroad connections.

Pacific International Terminals, a subsidiary of SSA Marine Inc. (SSA), proposes to build and operate the Gateway Pacific Terminal between Ferndale and Blaine. The terminal would provide storage and handling of exported and imported dry bulk commodities, including coal, grain, iron ore, salts and alumina. BNSF Railway Inc. (BNSF) proposes to add rail facilities and install a second track along the six-mile Custer Spur.

The three public agencies jointly manage the environmental review process for the proposed terminal projects. They are using the county’s EIS public competitive bidding process to select a contractor.

Bid proposals are due by 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 7, 2012, at the Whatcom County Courthouse. Details are available on the Whatcom County website. The county bid number is 12-08. The full bid document, the Request for Proposals (RFP), may be obtained by calling the county’s purchasing office at 360-676-6734, ext. 50191.

The county, Corps and Ecology will interview qualified bidders. SSA and BNSF may be present without participating. By state law and the county code, the agencies and the project proponents select the consultant by mutual agreement from finalists selected by the agencies.

The agencies will oversee the EIS consultant’s work. The project applicants will pay all costs through an escrow or similar arrangement, and are not allowed to have direct contact with the EIS consultant throughout the environmental review process, except with permission of the three agencies.

In addition to researching and preparing the draft and final EIS, the consultant must prepare a public participation plan, including proposals for public outreach and a website. The contractor must ensure that the public is provided with information on the status of the environmental review; the time and location of public meetings, hearings and comment periods; and other pertinent information throughout the EIS process.

Before preparing the EIS, the agencies and the consultant must conduct a public process called “scoping” to receive public input on the potential environmental impacts to be covered in the EIS. The RFP lists the following topics to be evaluated at a minimum:

The county will follow its normal practice of publicly opening the bids after the deadline and announcing the names of all submitters.


Media Contacts:

Tyler Schroeder, Whatcom County Planning Supervisor, 360-676-6907,

Larry Altose, Ecology media relations, 206-920-2600,

Katie Skipper, Ecology media relations, 360-715-5205,

Patricia Graesser 206-764-3760, Corps of Engineers media relations,

For more information:

Ecology's Gateway Pacific Terminal page (

Whatcom County's Gateway Pacific Terminal page (

Washington State Office of Regulatory Assistance (, requires registration)

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District (