Wednesday, September 26, 2012

GPT: EIS Scoping Comment No. 3

Corporate Structure & Responsibilty

September 26, 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 concerned Bellingham resident and former elected official, I am submitting these connected comments and questions for the careful consideration of the MAP Team:

The GPT ownership and operations responsibility hierarchy needs additional explanation, specifically to provide specific accountability for potential harmful accidents and cumulative degradation to the impacted environs in the broader zone of influence attributable to this Applicant's proposal, in two parts;

A. As described in the Application, the ownership of the terminal seems largely dis-associated from 'ownership' of any problems that may occur that damage either public resources, the existing built community or the health of human and fauna. 
Specifically, which entity or combination of entities will be responsible for either, human or environmental damages?

The applicant's proposal appears to limit its liability to successive, shelled layers of corporate structure, with no ultimate responsibility identified or committed to. 
Is this the Applicant's accurate intent ?   
If so, what guarantee(s) of responsibility is the Applicant willing to provide? 
If outside insurance is to be used for this purpose, to what limits? 
Will a public entity be able to control these funds and timely determine when and where they will be used?

B. As described in the Application, the Applicant appears to assume no responsibility for the actions of its supply chain partners, either Peabody Coal, BNSF Railway Co. or any of the various owners or operators of the Marine Vessels expected to transport bulk coal and other cargoes to foreign clients. 
Please explain exactly where does each supply chain party's responsibility begin and end? 

The Applicant asserts it will never 'own' any of the bulk commodities it will handle, but merely charge what amounts to a toll only for the unloading, materials handling and loading operations. 

Since some parts of these bulk commodities -primarily coal- will find their ways into the soils, waters, and air in -and outside- the vicinity of the proposed terminal, who will 'own' these fugitive particulates, liquids and gases? 
By means of example, please explain the following using and/or citing a recognized scientific basis:

• What will happen to coal and other 'dust' collected by various means, including bag-houses, onsite? 
Will it be considered a hazardous waste?
How will this be disposed? 

• What will happen to fine coal particles and other sediments collected by the various storm water and/or water treatment systems proposed? 
Which, if any, will be considered as hazardous waste?
How will these be disposed?
How will the stormwater and process water spray effluent be disposed, and to what standards?

• What methods are proposed to measure, monitor and control coal dust particles - especially PM 2.5 and PM 10 - generated from railcar unloading, materials handling conveyor system, and ship loading at the terminal from being carried offsite? 
At the coal railcar unloading facility, a pole building with roof and open sides, what does a vent stack 'opacity of 10%', equate to in terms of lbs per day of particulates?
How much is likely to be lost by wind blowing through this open shed?
What air pollution liability will be assumed by the applicant? How will this be amount be monitored, determined and paid?