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October 1, 2016

Ecology Releases Final Environmental Impact Statement for Proposed Westway Oil Terminal Expansion in Grays Harbor

The Washington Department of Ecology has released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the proposed Westway Oil terminal development project within Grays Harbor and the City of Hoqiuam. This has been a long running campaign for Surfrider Chapters in Washington as the potential environmental impacts associated with an oil spill, explosion, or fire would have devastating impacts to this major hub for ocean and coastal recreation on the Washington Coast

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From the Department of Ecology Release: “On September 30, 2016, the City of Hoquiam and the Department of Ecology issued the Final EIS for the Westway Expansion Project. Both the Westway Draft EIS and Final EIS found the proposed project would cause significant and unavoidable environmental impacts to health and safety if a crude oil spill, fire or explosion occurs. Both also found the expansion would cause significant impacts in noise, tribal resources and vehicle traffic and safety that would not be mitigated.” You can download the full FEIS here.

After a successful challenge to the original permit (which Surfrider joined in appealing), this Final EIS has gone through public review with overwhelming opposition, including nearly 100,000 public comments. The next steps for this proposal are for the required permits. Multiple local and state permits and plan approvals are needed before this project can be built. The Final EIS is not a permit. It provides information for those who make permit decisions. The first permit that will be considered is the City of Hoquiam’s shoreline development permit, this could legally happen after waiting 7 days. Contact the Mayor of Hoqiuam and City Manager and urge them to deny the permits. If you would like to submit a personal e-mail, please see this Westway proposal letter example to help you tailor your comment.

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This proposal has been a long running campaign for the Washington Chapters of the Surfrider Foundation. We appreciate the fact that the Department of Ecology initiated a full Environmental Impact Review as we requested, and included more information for the final that we recommended in our comment letter, and that our “comments were acknowledged”. You can download our comment letter from the Draft EIS here: westway_imperium_deis_comments_surfrider

We stand firm behind our comments submitted previously: “Surfrider Foundation finds that siting oil terminal facilities in the coastal zone is not consistent with successful protection, conservation and access to coastal resources. Our significant concerns that are outlined above lead us to conclude that we strongly support the no-action alternative. Additionally, the unknown environmental impacts of coastal oil terminal development and operation present significant risks to the marine environment that are difficult, if not impossible, to adequately address through adaptive management protocols under existing regulatory authorities.”

Clearly, given all of the information, it’s important that the City of Hoquiam does the right thing to protect the health and safety of their citizens and coastal recreational users in Washington and deny the permits. 

Along with our partners from the Quinault Indian Nation and the Stand Up To Oil Coalition, we will be actively reviewing the lengthy Final EIS and watching to see if and when the City of Hoqiuam decides on the requisite permits for the proposal to move forward, as well as evaluating next steps and keeping all options on the table. If you’re interested in getting involved and supporting this campaign, please contact Washington Field Manager Brice Boland, or Washington Policy Manager Gus Gates

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