We were told at a recent Hoquiam City Council meeting that the process for the crude oil terminal was “open” and transparent. However, the city and Department of Ecology originally issued a Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance (MDNS) for Westway and Imperium. As such, the MDNS did not allow public input or any environmental review and in fact could not be challenged. It was only when concerned citizens and the Quinault Indian Nation challenged the Shoreline Substantial Development Permit (SSDP) and the MDNS before the Shorelines Hearings Board, and won, that the process had to start over again with environmental impact studies, and public hearings and comment. The original MDNS was 11 to 13 pages for each project. The resultant Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) ran nearly 3,600 pages for each project.
It was also stated at the council meeting that no one knew the dangers of crude oil transport when the original permits were granted. That is not entirely correct. We may not have yet known about the explosive dangers of Bakken Crude, but many of us knew the horrific dangers of oil spills in water and spoke out against the terminals from the beginning.
There are plenty of examples of impacts — Exxon-Valdez, Nestucca, Deep Water Horizon to name a few. People whose livelihood depends on clean water know the dangers. The creatures that are smothered from oil spills know the dangers.
The City of Hoquiam and Department of Ecology had no excuse for turning a blind eye to that at the beginning by giving the projects their stamp of approval. Now they must make the right decision — the only decision — and deny the permits.
Arthur (R.D.) Grunbaum