Department of Ecology News Release - March 5, 2012

12-076

Meeting set to inform public about environmental review process for proposed Cherry Point terminal

BELLINGHAM – People interested in the upcoming process to review potential environmental impacts from the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal and a related railroad project are invited to an informational meeting.

Meeting details:
Project: Proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point, north Puget Sound
What: Information meeting on environmental review process
When: 6 – 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Where: Bellingham High School theater, 2020 Cornwall Ave.

Representatives from Whatcom County and the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) will outline the environmental review process and answer questions about it. A representative from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) will be on hand to answer questions about the Corps permitting process and federal requirements.

Whatcom County, Ecology and the Corps have agreed to coordinate the environmental impact statement (EIS) process under state and federal environmental laws.

The purpose of the meeting is to familiarize people with the upcoming environmental review process. Speakers will explain several opportunities people will have to provide formal input at different stages. The first of these will occur in late spring or summer this year.

An EIS reports on the potential impacts a proposed project would have on the natural and social environment. Once the impacts are identified, it outlines “mitigation,” measures intended to offset impacts. The EIS also evaluates alternatives, and their potential impacts, to the project or portions of it. Agencies that issue permits can use this information to determine whether to approve the project, and if approved, to set conditions to prevent or mitigate impacts.

The meeting program will outline the upcoming EIS process, including these key points, with approximate dates:

Pacific International Terminals, a subsidiary of SSA Marine Inc. (SSA), proposes to build and operate the Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point in north Puget Sound, 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. proposes to add rail facilities and install a second track along the six-mile Custer Spur.

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