Opinion

Scoping process for coal export terminal has started | Guest Column

A Chinese coal carrier leaked 4 tons of oil after striking Australian reefs in April last year. - AFP
A Chinese coal carrier leaked 4 tons of oil after striking Australian reefs in April last year.
— image credit: AFP

by Lopez NO COALition

The scoping process for Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point began on Sept. 24. If approved, the terminal will become the biggest coal export site in North America sending ships close to our shores, through transits lanes surrounding our islands.

The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers is leading the collaboration with Whatcom County Planning and Development Services and WA Department of Ecology to prepare a join Environmental Impact Statement. The Corps issued a Special Public Notice on Sept. 24, 2012 to invite the public to participate in the EIS process, which will end on Jan 21, 2012.

This 120-day period for public comment is a critically important and time-sensitive opportunity for members of the public to “clearly describe specific environmental topics or issues” that we believe the EIS document should address.

To help residents prepare the best possible letters that address our concerns here, Lopez NO COALition is teaming up with the Friends of the San Juans and Protect Whatcom for a special workshop focused on strategies to draft effective scoping letters. The workshop will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 5 p.m. at the Lopez Center for Community and the Arts.

The Corps has scheduled seven public “Scoping Meetings” in the next few months in various locations across the Washington state, including Friday Harbor, thanks to past efforts of many individuals and organization to secure a public meeting here in the San Juans.

This important scoping meeting will be held on Saturday, Nov. 3, at Friday Harbor High School from noon to 3 p.m.

During the scoping period, a continuous “online scoping meeting” will be hosted on the EIS website at www.eisgatewaypacificwa.gov

Public comments can be submitted at the Nov. 3 meeting, or any time before January 21, 2013. All comments received will become part of the administrative record and are subject to public release, as appropriate, in their entirety.

To provide any project specific comments in writing or by E-mail, you can visit the link http://www.nws.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/Regulatory/PublicNotices.aspx

 

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