Hoquiam City officials discussed lost opportunities at their city council meeting Monday night. BHP Billiton withdrew permit applications for a proposed potassium chloride export facility at Terminal 3, near Bowerman Airfield in early September citing continuous local stakeholder concerns and ongoing regulatory hurdles with no resolution or permit completion timeline insight. BHP Billiton in 2017 hosted an open house to detail the facility noting that another site was being considered.
The company said last month that they plan to pursue development at Fraser Surrey Docks in British Columbia, as well as conducting detailed due diligence on other shortlisted terminals on the northwest coast of North America.
“Rather than dwell on what could have been let’s look forward to finding some other industry work that is sustainable whether it’s more or less environmentally friendly I think of something that we always need to concern ourselves with.” Mayor Ben Winkelman said he’s received a lot of questions about what prompted BHP to withdraw applications for a potash export facility in Hoquiam earlier this month. He told the council, “If people are being asked what happened or for any information just keep in mind that we were in the midst of a public hearing and any materials that were submitted are public [record].”
Councilmember Dave Hinchen later in the meeting asked what happened and for more information to which City Administrative Brian Shay replied, “If you go back in time, BHP first engaged us in June of 2017 most recently there was a public hearing on October 28th and at that hearing BHP and the Quinault Nation asked for the hearing to be held open while they address some outstanding issues related to tribal treaty rights. It was extended to December 20th then to January 31st then to 28th of February, March 31st to June 30th. And then on June 30th the Quinault Nation submitted some extensive comment opposing the project and on September 4th BHP withdrew their permit.”
Please find the public documents mentioned during the meeting attached below.