Two major steps lie ahead to bring the Gateway Pacific Terminal into operation.
First, the project will undergo a very thorough environmental impact review. This process has started and will take approximately two years. The first step, called ‘scoping’ concluded on January 22, 2013, and involved gathering public input on what to include in the environmental impact statement (EIS). The co-lead agencies, Whatcom County, Washington State Department of Ecology and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, received public comments online, by mail or in person at the seven scoping meetings.
Scoping is designed to result in a series of conditions to alleviate significant adverse environmental effects, if any are identified. After scoping, a draft EIS will be prepared and again, the public will have a chance to give input and submit comments. For more information about the EIS process, please visit the co-lead agencies’ EIS Website.
The second step will be construction. This process will take about two years. The site will need to have some earth moving to make the operating areas level. Railroad track and material unloading systems will have to be built, along with a large wharf and a connecting trestle.
It is not known at this time how many customers will be committed to use the terminal by the time construction is ready to begin – and in particular, for what commodities, and at what volumes. While the project is seeking permits for the full capacity of the site, ultimately, the construction of the terminal will be staged to meet the needs of customers. Thus, it could be built to full capacity in the beginning, or it could be completed in two or more stages.