This report just in from Friends of the San Juans:
Yesterday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Washington State Department of Ecology, and Whatcom County announced the scope of their joint Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Gateway Pacific coal export terminal at Cherry Point – they’ll be carefully scrutinizing the broad threats posed by coal export terminals to the state, and beyond.
Thank you to the thousands of people (many of you!) who spoke up for the Salish Sea impacts during the scoping comment period last fall – Whatcom County and the Department of Ecology listened to us! The EIS will include a variety of topics that are critical to islanders, including (but not limited to): marine traffic and the increased risk of an oil spill, human health impacts, greenhouse gas emissions from burning coal in Asia and the cumulative impacts of all regional coal export projects. Read the Department of Ecology’s announcement here.
We appreciate the leadership of Department of Ecology and the Governor for looking at the long-term health, environmental and economic impacts associated with this project. Please take a moment to send an email thanking Governor Jay Inslee and Ecology Director Maia Bellon for committing to undertake a thorough review of what coal export would mean for our communities.
This is a positive first step in the EIS process. Read this article by Eric de Place and Clark Williams-Derry of Sightline to learn more about what the scoping decision could mean for the coal industry. The draft EIS is expected to take two years to complete, at which time the public will have another opportunity to make sure all our concerns are addressed and provide more comments.
Stay engaged in the meantime. There are additional fossil fuel export projects on the table across the Northwest. We’ll keep you posted on how we can all work together to play a role in protecting our communities and the larger Salish Sea from the risks associated with moving dirty fuels through the region.
P.S. Check out the Salish Sea: In Danger infographic to learn more about the threats of increased fossil fuel export and spread the word!