Department of Ecology News Release - August 31, 2015

Draft environmental reports released for crude-by-rail projects in Grays Harbor
Public can comment through Oct. 29

HOQUIAM – The Washington Department of Ecology and the city of Hoquiam have released draft Environmental Impact Statements for the Westway and Imperium crude oil-by-rail expansion projects in Grays Harbor county, and are inviting the public to comment.

Starting today, the public will have 60 days to comment on the draft Environmental Impact Statements (EIS). This expanded comment period includes two days of public hearings, Oct. 1 in Elma and Oct. 8 in Aberdeen, as well as comments submitted online and by mail.

Ecology and Hoquiam served as co-lead agencies to study the proposals, looking at potential environmental impacts. The two projects are separate, but were studied together for efficiency. Once finalized after the comment periods, the city of Hoquiam, Ecology and other local, state, and federal agencies will use the final EISs in their permitting decisions.

“The draft studies evaluate impacts and risks, and now it’s time for the community to review and offer their perspective,” said Paula Ehlers, shorelands and environmental assistance section manager for Ecology’s Southwest Regional Office.

The draft EISs include studies of the natural and built environments, recreation, historic and cultural preservation, and tribal resources. For transportation, the studies looked at rail traffic, noise and vibration, vessel traffic, and vehicle traffic and safety. In the environmental health chapter, the studies analyzed the risks and potential impacts of spills, fires and explosions.

“The partnership between Ecology and the City of Hoquiam brings together the local knowledge and state perspective to form a thorough consideration of impacts,” said Brian Shay, city administrator for the city of Hoquiam.

The public can download the studies as well as multiple fact sheets with overviews of key issues at www.ecy.wa.gov/GraysHarbor. The factsheets include:

The comment period ends Oct. 29, and the final EIS will be prepared after all comments have been reviewed.

Public hearings and open houses:

Presentations will begin at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., with open houses and hearings officers available throughout the entire day.

Comments can be submitted online at https://public.commentworks.com/cwx/westwayimperiumcommentform or mailed to:

Westway and Imperium Terminal Services Expansion Projects EISs
c/o ICF International
710 Second Street, Suite 550
Seattle, WA 98104

Contact:

Chase Gallagher, communications, 360-407-6239, @ECYSW

Brian Shay, City of Hoquiam, 360-538-3983