Thursday, September 27, 2012

GPT: EIS Comment No. 4

Vessels, Jobs & Cold-Ironing

Today's Crosscut carried another excellent article by Floyd Mckay that addresses the coal issue facing the Northwest. 
Here is today's submission to the MAP Team:

September 27, 2012

Mr Tyler Schroeder, Whatcom County
Mr Randel Perry, U.S. Corps of Engineers
Ms Jeannie Summerhays,  Washington State Department of Ecology

Subject: Scoping for Draft EIS for Proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal, Cherry Point, Whatcom County

As a long time Bellingham resident and former elected official, I am submitting this comment and recommendation for the careful consideration of the MAP Team:

Much is being touted about the proposed Gateway Pacific Coal Terminal bringing a few hundred well-paying jobs to our area. 
Are these jobs limited to the relatively few on-site and associated operations described only, or do they include significant US off-site jobs included in the multiplier effect, as well?

For one example, will only US-built, US registry and US-manned ships be specified as the exclusive bulk carriers to call at GPT? Such a commitment would help generate many more US jobs for steel-making, shipbuilding, marine equipment manufacturing, US merchant marine crews, and the like, which are exactly the kind of value-added jobs the US needs most.

Should GPT consider committing to a goal like this, it could more tangibly help sustain existing American industry and essential jobs, and also promote confidence in a likely much cleaner and safer vessel operation in US waters because national pride would at stake as well as the standard profit motive. 

I am concerned that the many behemoth ships -of whatever registry- anticipated to haul coal and other bulk cargoes will continue to burn heavy petroleum residual 'Bunker Fuel' and their own diesel fuel while moored, anchored and at the loading wharf. 
This would constitute a major new source of air pollution to our area, which is widely noted for its relatively clean air.

Since the GPT Application mentions that electrical utility junctions are to be included in the wharf and terminal design, does that mean that the use of shore power -commonly termed Cold-Ironing- will be mandatory for all vessels that load or unload at GPT? If not, why not?

From  a recent article on Port of Tacoma
The port is equipping all of its new facilities with conduit and electric substations capable of providing ships operating at its docks with power generated by shore-base power plants.

Under the shore power plan, ships would operate their internal lighting, heating, cooling and mechanical systems with shore power when they’re tied up at the pier. Now, most ships continue operating their internal combustion engines while at the pier to power those systems. The shore power switch could cut pollution from those engines because the generators that create that power are likely far cleaner than the ship’s engines, particularly if that power is generated from water flowing through dams, from windmills or other green sources.

TOTE pioneered shore power in 2010. The $2.7-million project is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 2,600 tons a year. TOTE’s shore power facility is the first cargo shore power operation on the Sound. No other shipping lines have followed suit, but Jordan expects more will in time as newer ships are equipped with shore power receptacles."