As outlined below, Pacific International Terminals (SSA Marine) filed for permits with Whatcom County for the Gateway Pacific Terminal, but did not file for a new shoreline permit. Rather, they have filed for a revised permit. You can read about it in the
This past Friday, Earth Justice, the attorneys who sued Ambre Energy for attempting to circumvent the environmental scoping process in Cowlitz County which resulted in withdrawal of the permit application there, gave notice to Whatcom County that SSA’s permit application is incomplete because it does not ask for a new shoreline permit. The letter is here.The county has until Friday, June 23, to complete its review of the application and determine whether it is complete or should be returned to SSA. If Whatcom County Planning Division does not follow state law governing revised Shoreline Substantial Development Permits, it is possible that the county will be met with a lawsuit it would cost this county scarce resources to defend their administrative position.
Please consider expressing your opinion to Tyler Schroeder (360-676-6907,email@example.com) at Whatcom County Planning & Development Services. Tyler is one of the primary decision makers in charge of the application review. If you feel inclined, you may also contact the county executive: Pete Kremen (firstname.lastname@example.org, 360-676-6717).
RESources has some great information available on the importance of taking action during this stage of the process.
Proponents of the Gateway Pacific Terminal have asked people to withhold judgments against the process until a thorough EIS review is complete.So what should we make of SSA Marine trying to subvert the process that they encourage us to trust?
Here is a copy of the letter by Earth Justice on behalf of Climate Solutions, Sierra Club and RE Sources sent to Whatcom County in response to Pacific International Terminals (SSA Marine’s) filing of a Major Project Permit and a “Shoreline Substantial Development Permit ” this past week (6/17/11).
Simply put, filing to “revise” a fourteen year old permit attempts to circumvent the law by trying to portray a 300 times larger footprint of the terminal with a 600% volume increase (meaning an increase in ship traffic from 180 to 480 annually) as a minor change. Oh, and then there is the fact that the 1997 permit authorizes the shipment of “grains, petroleum coke, iron ore, sulfur, potash, and wood chips” with no mention whatsoever of coal as a primary export product. As far as public comments regarding the scoping process and the EIS are concerned, because the legality of the permits that have been filed is an open question, we encourage you to wait to comment on the project to county officials until the public comment period is announced during the scoping process. Once the public comment period for scoping is announced, it means that the county has accepted the permit application. This is not currently the case.
Please contact Tyler Schroeder (360-676-6907, email@example.com) at Whatcom County Planning & Development Services or County Executive Pete Kremen (firstname.lastname@example.org, 360-676-6717] to NOT PERMIT SSA Marine “at the early stage of the process—to circumvent that close scrutiny, public process and regulatory review by applying for a permit revision rather than a new permit” (Letter to Tyler Schroeder 6/17/11.)