Department of Ecology News Release - May 30, 2012


Consultant named for environmental review of proposed Cherry Point terminal

BELLINGHAM – Environmental consulting company CH2M Hill has been selected to help local, state and federal governments prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) to evaluate a proposed bulk cargo marine terminal at Cherry Point in north Puget Sound and a related railroad project.

Whatcom County, the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) jointly manage the environmental review process for the proposed terminal projects. The contractor was selected through the county’s public competitive bidding process. Whatcom County and CH2M Hill will enter into a contract for the scoping phase of the EIS process, expected to take place this summer. The county will seek Whatcom County Council endorsement of the contract during a June 5, 2012, council meeting.

Through scoping, the agencies will decide what factors to analyze and what geographic area to consider in the EIS. The co-lead agencies will ask other agencies, tribes and the public to comment on what the environmental impact statement should address. After considering comments, the lead agencies will decide what should be included in the environmental impact statement.

Further phases include researching and preparing the draft and final EIS.

The contractor will help the co-lead agencies ensure that the pubic receives information on the status of the environmental review, public comment periods, the time and location of public meetings and hearings, and other pertinent information throughout scoping and other phases of the EIS process.

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

CH2M Hill will conduct its work with staff in its offices in Bellingham and Bellevue. The company will draw assistance from a team of subcontractors:

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. proposes to add rail facilities and install a second track along the six-mile Custer Spur.


Media Contacts:

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

Alice Kelly, Ecology regional planner, 425-649-7128,

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

For more information: