Tag Archive for EIS

Hoquiam council packed with public comment, as city moves forward with EIS

Port of Grays Harbor
Concerned citizens packed the city council chambers in Hoquiam last night, most wearing red, all opposed to any action by the council on two efforts to export Crude by Rail from Grays Harbor.
As Judy Shirdal said “I am against Crude by Rail, and Crude oil storage in our community. If these projects pass, and are implemented, it could forever change the health and safety of our towns.”
The comments centered around hazards that crude-by-rail could bring, as Karoonuh Johnson said “Leadership has to accept that if we have a global economy, we also have a global environment.”
East County resident Radley Young added that the council’s actions affect so many more cities than just Hoquiam. “There are a tremendous amount of small communities that are bisected by the railroad, and they’ve been like that for a long time. But they’ve never had to deal with such a potential threat.”
As we reported earlier this month, City Administrator Brian Shay told Port of Grays Harbor Commissioners “With any luck 30 days from now we will be formally launching the EIS, and done 12 months from now.
City council last night adopted the report by staff recommending a consultant begin the Environmental Impact Statement process for Westway Terminals and Imperium Renewables, two companies that would like to expand export operations in Hoquiam.

Hoquiam to begin Draft Environment Impact Statement for crude by rail projects

Port of Grays Harbor
The city of Hoquiam is moving forward on drafting an Environmental Impact Statement for two of three companies that want to export crude oil from Grays Harbor. “We’ve selected our top consultant, ICF Jones & Stokes.” City Administrator Brian Shay told the Port Commissioners last week that they are negotiating a contract with the firm now. “With any luck 30 days from now we will be formally launching the EIS, and done 12 months from now.
The consultant, ICF Jones & Stokes is currently drafting an EIS for Millennium Bulk Terminals Project to export coal from Longview, Shay added “We hope to identify all of the issues that the Shoreline’s Board and the appellants identified in the appeals when we make our public notice on the scoping. We’re going to look at this long list of issues.
Shay said Westway Terminals and Imperium Renewables will reimburse the city for costs of the EIS review “I think the reason the companies have chosen to do an EIS is that they hope it will address all of the issues that were outlined by the Shorelines Board and that it won’t end up in appeal again.
Projects for both companies were put on hold last year when the Shoreline’s Hearings Board remanded the permits for further review.

Public meeting planned for Grays Harbor Navigation Improvement draft

A public meeting about the US Army Corps of Engineers Grays Harbor Navigation Improvement Project draft limited reevaluation report including a draft supplemental Environmental Impact Statement begins at 6.30pm, February 27 at the Rotary Log Pavilion in Aberdeen, Wash.
The meeting will focus on the Corps’ reevaluation report and draft supplemental EIS resulting from a General Investigation of dredging the federal navigation channel to its legislatively authorized depth of -38 feet. Army Corps officials will begin the meeting with an open house followed by a presentation and an opportunity to comment on the Corps’ report.
The draft reevaluation report, draft supplemental EIS and appendices are available to review on line at: http://1.usa.gov/MS6jUw or through Seattle District’s main website: http://www.nws.usace.army.mil by clicking on “Grays Harbor Navigation” under the “Most Requested” column.
The Corps is accepting public comments on the draft limited reevaluation report and supplemental EIS for a 45-day period beginning Feb. 7 and ending March 24. Comments will be accepted at the meeting via comment card or other written format and orally. Comments can also be sent via email to: [email protected] or through the mail to Josh Jackson, CENWS-PM-CP, PO Box 3755, Seattle, WA 98124-3755.

Feb 27 Information Meeting Time:
6:30- 7 p.m. Questions and Answers at Open House
7 – 7:30 p.m. Presentation from Corps of Engineers representatives
7:30-8:15 p.m. Public comment period
8:15-8:30 p.m. Questions and Answers at Open House

Information Meeting Location: Aberdeen Rotary Log Pavilion, 1401 Sargent Blvd., Aberdeen, Wash.
Background: The Grays Harbor federal navigation deep draft channel is 250 feet wide at Cosmopolis, increasing to 1,000 feet over the Bar at the mouth of Grays Harbor. The currently maintained channel depth is -36 feet Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW) from the South Reach to the Cow Point Reach, where Port of Grays Harbor Terminal 4 is located. The channel then decreases to -32 feet MLLW through Cosmopolis.
The Corps investigated the feasibility of dredging the channel from the South Reach upstream to Cow Point to its fully legislatively authorized depth of -38 feet MLLW. This project covers approximately 14.5 miles of the 27.5 mile channel. Deepening of the relevant portion of the Grays Harbor navigation channel to -38 feet MLLW was authorized by Congress in 1986, but a 1989 economic evaluation found that dredging only to -36 feet MLLW was economically justified at that time. Through updated economic and environmental analysis the present study has evaluated implementing the previously authorized -38-foot depth through a Limited Reevaluation Report and a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), building on the original 1982 EIS and its 1989 Supplement.
The potential two-foot deepening being evaluated is neither designed nor intended to facilitate access for any new vessel classes or commodity types that could not currently utilize Port facilities.
The Corps maintains the waterway now by dredging the deep draft channel annually at an average cost of $9 million, removing an average annual volume of about 1.7 million cubic yards of material.

For additional information about Grays Harbor Navigation visit our website at: http://www.nws.usace.army.mil
and click on “Grays Harbor Navigation” under “Most Requested.”

Imperium Renewables and Westway team up to get paperwork moving on expansion plans

Port of Grays Harbor ariel view

Imperium Renewables and Westway have sent a joint letter today asking the City of Hoquiam and the state Department of Ecology to begin developing environmental impact statements (EIS) on the companies’ terminal expansion projects at the Port of Grays Harbor.

Although both companies maintain they have satisfied all relevant environmental protection laws during their pursuit of permits for the projects, they acknowledge there is strong interest in the broader issue of shipping crude oil by rail.

“We want to provide ample opportunity for airing and responding to any concerns regarding the terminal expansions and the robust EIS process provides that opportunity,” Imperium Renewables CEO John Plaza said. “These are safe, well-designed facilities that are similar to many other facilities that are safely operating in Washington.”

“We remain committed to Grays Harbor and this project,” added Gene McClain,  CEO of Westway Group LLC. “We’re here to invest in the community and make sure we do our part which includes addressing the concerns and questions raised by our neighbors in this new permit application.”

The City and Ecology had issued both companies permits allowing them to move forward last year, but in November, the Shoreline Hearings Board cancelled its hearing on the permits and issued an order requiring more information about the cumulative impacts of increased rail and marine traffic associated with the terminal expansions.

Both companies were already in the process of gathering data on those issues, and that research will contribute to the development of the environmental impact statement. 

Proposed expansions at the Port of Grays Harbor by Westway and Imperium are projected to result in $143.3 million in direct and indirect investment during the year-long construction period, according to a study released by Greater Grays Harbor, Inc. The study also projected that the companies will spend $97.8 million in their first full year of operation. This will result in an additional $18.8 million in indirect economic output in Grays Harbor County.

Combined, these projects will create 148 direct fulltime family-wage jobs and hundreds of indirect jobs for the community and millions more in annual income.

“These kinds of investments are what make the Harbor an attractive place for other businesses looking to locate here,” explained Tim Gibbs, CEO of Greater Grays Harbor, Inc. “We are excited that Westway and Imperium is working with our community to grow these opportunities.”

Both companies anticipate the EIS process will take approximately one year allowing for construction to begin in 2015. Construction will take approximately 12 months.

Port of Grays Harbor ariel view

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Ecology seeks comments on proposals to control non-native eelgrass and burrowing shrimp

OLYMPIA – The Department of Ecology (Ecology) invites the public to comment on the scope of an environmental impact statement (EIS) for a proposal to control burrowing shrimp in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor.

Public comment is also sought on a draft permit for controlling non-native eelgrass in Willapa Bay only.

Proposal to control burrowing shrimp
The Willapa/Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association submitted an application to Ecology for a water quality (NPDES) permit to allow the association to use the pesticide Imidacloprid to control burrowing shrimp in commercial shellfish operations in Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay.

Burrowing shrimp destabilize oyster beds and impact oyster production.

As a part of the process to consider issuing a new permit, Ecology will prepare an EIS. Ecology is seeking comments on the scope of the EIS for this proposal through Feb. 15, 2014. Scoping helps the agency determine what potential impacts to analyze in the EIS. See the scoping notice to submit your comments.

Later in the year, Ecology expects to issue the draft EIS as well as a draft permit. Ecology will hold another public comment period and public hearing before a final EIS is issued and a permit decision made.

Carbaryl was permitted by Ecology for the control of burrowing shrimp on commercial shellfish beds in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor through 2012. The growers association is seeking a permit for Imidacloprid as an alternative. For more information about carbaryl and the current permit for its use see: Individual Permit for the Control of Burrowing Shrimp using Carbaryl on Commercial Shellfish Beds in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor.

Proposal to control non-native (Zostera japonica) eelgrass
The shellfish growers association also has requested a new permit for the use of Imazamox to help manage the growth of non-native eelgrass called Zostera japonica on commercial clam beds in Willapa Bay.

According to the growers, these beds were historically sand/mud flats and just recently Zostera japonica has been colonizing these beds making it difficult to grow and harvest clams.

The EIS scoping period for the proposal to control non-native eelgrass closed Nov. 2, 2012, and Ecology has developed a draft EIS and a draft permit.

A water quality (NPDES) permit is required before the herbicide can be applied under the Washington State Water Pollution Control Act. The permit would regulate the use of Imazamox and marker dyes to manage Zostera japonica on commercial clam beds.

Ecology is seeking comments through Feb. 15, 2014, on the draft EIS and the draft permit to allow the use of Imazamox in Willapa Bay. See Ecology’s website for ways to submit comments.

Two separate but aligned permitting processes
The environmental review and permitting processes to control burrowing shrimp are separate from the environmental review and permitting processes to control non-native eelgrass in Willapa Bay. However, the public comment periods for each proposal are the same: Jan. 2 to Feb. 15, 2014.

Public meeting
People may submit comments on either proposal to the Department of Ecology (Ecology) through midnight Feb. 15.

Comments will also be accepted at a Saturday public workshop and public hearing in South Bend on Feb. 1, 2014. The meeting will start at 10 a.m. and continue through the afternoon. It will be held at Willapa Harbor Community Center, 916 W First Street, South Bend, WA 98586. The meeting format includes:

  • Open houses on both proposals: 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Workshops on both proposals, including presentation and question and answer sessions: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Public hearing on proposal to control non-native eelgrass and public comment opportunity on proposal to control burrowing shrimp: 1 p.m.

Public Comment Period Open for Pacific Coast Marine Spatial Plan

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington Department of Ecology is seeking public comment regarding what elements should be covered in a marine spatial plan for the state’s 375 miles of ocean coastline. This includes feedback about the draft goals, objectives, boundaries as well as other scoping issues that should be included under a related environmental impact statement (EIS) for Washington’s Pacific Coast.

The EIS will evaluate the alternatives and potential significant adverse impacts associated with developing the marine spatial plan. The scoping document below provides important background, context, and draft proposed language to assist those wishing to provide comments. We strongly encourage those commenting to review the scoping document prior to preparing and submitting their comments.

Washington marine spatial planning