The environmental review for the proposed Westway Terminal crude oil expansion project in Grays Harbor is complete, the City of Hoquiam and the Washington Department of Ecology reported in a joint press release on Sept. 30. The review identifies impacts stemming from the project proposal, as well as possible mitigation measures.
The city of Hoquiam and Washington Department of Ecology are issuing the final report, officially referred to as the Environmental Impact Statement, after analyzing and responding to 100,000 comments received during public review of the draft version in 2015.
"We have been committed to a transparent, thorough and impartial process since our work on this proposal began," says Paula Ehlers, section manager for Ecology. "The conclusions of the final study are similar to the draft, but include responses to all comments received, additional information in some sections, and new proposed mitigation."
The study found that the proposed project would cause significant and unavoidable environmental impacts to health and safety if a crude oil spill, fire or explosion occurs. There are also impacts to tribal resources.
The report proposes 69 mitigation measures to offset or reduce environmental impacts from the project, including using newer rail cars, escort tugs in Grays Harbor, adding response equipment caches in key locations, and coordinating spill response training for local responders and tribes.
The study is not a permit, according to the press release, but is instead a comprehensive and factual data resource for those who will make decisions during the permitting process, acc Ten local and state permits, and 11 federal and state plan approvals will be required for the proposed project. The first permit to be considered will be Hoquiam's shoreline substantial development permit.