Regulators call for air-impact study on Gateway terminal

As the public comment period in the Gateway Pacific Terminal’s environmental scoping process ends, a regulatory agency in northwest Washington is calling for an analysis on the proposed terminal’s impact on the region’s air quality.

The Northwest Clean Air Agency announced it has submitted comments to the co-lead agencies tasked with creating the terminal’s environmental impact statement. Agency directors said its comments focus on the need for information to support the agency’s dual role for any large, complex industrial facility that emits air pollutants in its jurisdiction covering Island, Skagit and Whatcom counties.

“This is a very emotional issue for a lot of people, but it is important for us to remain neutral and engage in a robust and thorough EIS process,” said NWCAA Executive Director Mark Asmundson, in a press release. “Our job during scoping is to ask the right questions.”

Some potential sources of air pollution for which NWCAA is seeking analysis include:

– Construction and operation of the proposed terminal and rail spur and handling of any commodities.
– Windblown coal dust at the terminal.
– Emissions from smoldering coal piles.
– Emissions from trains and ships serving the terminal and any commodities they handle.
– Vehicles idling at rail crossings.
– Backup power generation.

The agency’s scoping comments can be downloaded here: www.nwcleanair.org/pdf/misc/GPTScopingLtr.pdf

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