Earlier this week the Army Corp of Engineers (Corps) announced their decision to forego a partnership with Whatcom County and Washington State on an expansive environmental impact study (EIS) on the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal project. This is a dramatic shift from a previous position, which began with Washington State’s Department of Ecology announcing the state would partner with both the Corps and Whatcom country to conduct a greatly expanded EIS on the proposed project.
As previously noted, there were a number of aspects of this announcement that were troubling, and the expanding the scope of the study well outside both the county and state’s jurisdiction was at the top of the list. The review, known as a “life cycle analysis,” would look at the impact of coal from “cradle to grave,” or from extraction of the coal in Wyoming all the way to its end-use in China. This type of action by a local government is highly unusual—not to mention very questionable from a legal standpoint. However, most troubling was the fact that the Corps was included in this announcement, despite previously stating that this type of study was outside their jurisdiction.
This week’s news that the Corps will conduct an EIS is within the scope of the law and not pursue a study that would go beyond the borders of our country is indeed a welcome development.
Manufacturers continue support the permitting and approval of pending coal export projects and call on the local governments to avoid unnecessary delays so we can move forward with the creation of thousands of good-paying jobs in the Pacific Northwest and export a raw material that is in great demand across the globe.
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