Water, water, water, and permitting!

Jeremiah L. lead us through a brief but thorough tour of the permitting process and regulatory environment for the coal terminal at Longview (and for the Cherry Point one too). Luckily, Washington State has a fair number of good review processes and we learned how the SEPA process relates to the NEPA process and why there were the two hearings on Wednesday (yesterday!). The NEPA process is at the federal level and involved lead agencies like the Army Corps of Engineers. The SEPA process is the state level and the lead agency is Ecology.

The permitting is triggered because of involvement of the Clean Water Act – and it is indeed our waterways that have a great number of people thoroughly involved in these plans.  If you didn’t know your 401’s from your 404’s, now is the time to get them untangled – ha! And it is hear that many people will begin to understand why scoping hearings have specific boundaries and don’t include issues that have to do with general quality of life issues or air quality issues – though with projects like these we feel they should! The Joint Aquatic Resource Permit Application  – or JARPA – is what was filed by Millenium for the Longview site and it is their foot in the door. It is, however, also our chance to step up and get involved too!

For more information and thorough review of the process, see the JARPA site:

http://www.epermitting.wa.gov/site/alias__resourcecenter/jarpa_process_overview/9979/process_overview.aspx

We also reviewed how it is that land leases and newly formed corporate entities are involved in making sure that “fallout” from this project does not land where you think it might…oh the tangled legal webs are weaved! I will post more on that situation shortly.

Now, however, that we have moved past our local hearing on the Longview terminal, we are moving into EFSEC hearings: public and scoping. And the EFSEC process has triggered the need for an EIS and we are once again calling on everyone to get some learning under their belt and join in this process. It is after all, only to our benefit to speak up.