Draft EIS released on previously authorized BP Cherry Point dock North Wing

Published May 29, 2014

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers today released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement to examine the incremental environmental risk, principally from vessel traffic, related to operation of the previously authorized addition of the North Wing to the BP Cherry Point dock, near Ferndale, Wash.

The comment period for the draft EIS begins June 6 and closes Aug. 6, 2014. The Corps will hold public meetings in Bellingham and Seattle on July 16 and 24 respectively.  Both written and oral scoping comments will be considered in the preparation of the final EIS.

Public Meeting Dates and Locations: The Corps will hold two public meetings on the following dates and the following locations.   

      Bellingham, Wash., July 16, 2014 from 7 to 9 p.m. with open house from 6 to 7 p.m., at the Shuksan Middle School gymnasium, 2717 Alderwood Avenue, Bellingham, Wash.  

      Seattle, July 24, 2014: from 7 to 9 p.m. with open house from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Federal Center South, 4735 East Marginal Way South,  Galaxy Room, Seattle, Wash.* 

The Corps’ scope of analysis for this EIS includes the potential environmental effects of operating both wings (North Wing and South Wing) of the BP Cherry Point dock compared to operating the South Wing at maximum capacity. The EIS also evaluates the risk of potential accidents and oil spills considering vessels carrying crude oil or refined petroleum product while in transit to and from the marine terminal. Three alternatives were analyzed:  Proposed Action, No Action and Alternative A.  The Proposed Action is the continued operation of the North Wing, with conditions including prohibiting the use of the North Wing for unloading or loading of crude oil.  No Action is revoking the current permit and requiring the removal of the North Wing.  Alternative A is identical to the Proposed Action except that the condition prohibiting unloading and loading crude oil would not be included on operations of the North Wing.

During the comment period, the Corps invites federal agencies, state and local governments, Native American Tribes, and the public to participate in the public review process either by providing written comments or by attending the public meetings.

Development of the final EIS will begin after the close of the public comment period.

The Corps was directed by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to complete an EIS considering the impacts of reasonably foreseeable increases in vessel traffic due to the addition of the North Wing.  The purpose of the EIS is to provide decision-makers and the public with information including the proposed action and alternatives, vessel traffic analyses conducted, the incremental environmental risk related to operations of the dock, environmental impacts from potential vessel traffic accidents and oil spills in the Puget Sound region, and the consideration of risk mitigation.      

*Note:  A valid government-issued photo identification (for example, a driver's license) will be required for entrance to the building.

Patricia Graesser

Release no. 14-023