For almost two and half years Surfrider has been involved with the permitting process for two oil terminals, Westway and Imperium, in Grays Harbor. The permits, originally green-lighted by the Department of Ecology and the city of Hoquiam, were opposed by Surfrider and our partners as we firmly believe that the proposed terminals need to go through a formal environmental review process. With an appeal to the Shoreline Hearings Board, Surfrider and our partners were successful in making the environmental review process happen.
The environmental review process has three major steps before a permit for a project is issued. First, the scoping period, is a way for agencies to gather public comment and allow for dialogue on what should be included in the initial review phase before crafting a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS). The scoping period for the Westway and Imperium oil terminals ran from April 10th-May 17th in 2014. Surfrider provided public comment opposing the terminals discussing their impacts to local recreation and listed items to be studied such as increase risk of spills from more tanker traffic.
Since the scoping period, the Department of Ecology began the process of putting together the DEIS based on their information and public comment from the scoping period. It was recently announced that the DEIS public comment period will begin Monday, August 31st, and run until October 29th 2015. This is a key part of the process before the final environmental impact statement (EIS) is released and an opportunity for Surfrider to once again voice our concern about this dirty industry which threatens some of our favorite recreation areas such as Westhaven State Park and the Ocean Shores area featured below.
What can you do to help? Work with your local chapter to have a comment card writing time at a chapter meeting or make it a specific event. You can also provide public comment at one of the public hearings happening October 1st in Elma or October 8th in Aberdeen. The more we show the Department of Ecology that state residents oppose these projects the better. Once the document is released Surfrider staff and volunteers will read through it and provide talking points and a breakdown for our members so please check back here in early September or check-in with your local chapter to find out more information on the report and how to get involved. For any questions you can contact WA Policy Manager Gus Gates or WA Field Manager Brice Boland.