Title

Cherry Point Coal Transfer Station: To Build or Not To Build

Presenter Information

Keith Rakes

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC 137A

Start Date

16-5-2013

End Date

16-5-2013

Abstract

Washington State officials have been looking at building an oceanic coal terminal at Cherry Point, near Bellingham, Washington since the late 1980s. An Environmental Impact Statement was completed in 1997 but was withdrawn when the construction company, Pacific International Terminals redrew the plans, increasing the size of the facility. This requires a new Environmental Impact Statement that should be completed by 2015. Many local residents, as well as the Lummi and Nooksack Indian Nations, are against its construction, citing the large amounts of storm water that the area receives. Cherry Point lies in a severe weather zone which can be affected by larger amounts of storm water than other parts of western Washington. Local residents believe that if Cherry Point is struck by a storm equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane, the storm water drainage and treatment system at the proposed terminal will not be sufficient. If the system fails, it will result in a disaster to the local environment, costing upwards of millions of dollars in clean up. Even though both national and state environmental protection acts are updated annually, I propose an update of the storm water section of the Clean Water Act, which has not been updated since 1987. The updated act will require all facilities to upgrade, and maintain storm water treatment facilities, and require back-up systems to be utilized in emergency situations.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Rex Wirth

Additional Mentoring Department

Political Science

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May 16th, 2:10 PM May 16th, 2:30 PM

Cherry Point Coal Transfer Station: To Build or Not To Build

SURC 137A

Washington State officials have been looking at building an oceanic coal terminal at Cherry Point, near Bellingham, Washington since the late 1980s. An Environmental Impact Statement was completed in 1997 but was withdrawn when the construction company, Pacific International Terminals redrew the plans, increasing the size of the facility. This requires a new Environmental Impact Statement that should be completed by 2015. Many local residents, as well as the Lummi and Nooksack Indian Nations, are against its construction, citing the large amounts of storm water that the area receives. Cherry Point lies in a severe weather zone which can be affected by larger amounts of storm water than other parts of western Washington. Local residents believe that if Cherry Point is struck by a storm equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane, the storm water drainage and treatment system at the proposed terminal will not be sufficient. If the system fails, it will result in a disaster to the local environment, costing upwards of millions of dollars in clean up. Even though both national and state environmental protection acts are updated annually, I propose an update of the storm water section of the Clean Water Act, which has not been updated since 1987. The updated act will require all facilities to upgrade, and maintain storm water treatment facilities, and require back-up systems to be utilized in emergency situations.