USA: Agencies Seek Input on Cherry Point Terminal

Agencies Seek Input on Cherry Point Terminal

To accommodate high public interest, the three agencies gathering public comment on the scope of an upcoming environmental impact statement (EIS) for a proposed bulk-cargo shipping terminal and rail spur improvements at Cherry Point, have rescheduled a public meeting originally set for next week in Seattle.

The new location will have room for a larger number of participants. The Seattle meeting is now set for Dec. 13, 2012, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Washington State Convention Center, 800 Convention Place, Ballroom 6F.

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.

Whatcom County, the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) together are conducting the EIS process for the proposed terminal projects and will jointly produce one EIS. Whatcom County and Ecology must follow the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), and the Corps must follow the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Scoping is a preliminary phase of the EIS process when the agencies identify potential adverse impacts to decide what impacts to analyze in the EIS. The three lead agencies are gathering input from other agencies, tribes and the public. After considering comments, the lead agencies will decide what should be included in the EIS.

The EIS will evaluate the adverse impacts of various alternatives and explores possible mitigation to reduce the impacts.

[mappress]

Press Release, November 9, 2012

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