SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--On April 1, 2016, the sponsor for the Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT) project invoked its contractual right to temporarily suspend work on the environmental review (EIS) process while continuing to wait for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to issue its separate decision relating to alleged treaty rights of the Lummi Tribe. On January 5, 2015, the Lummi Nation requested the Corps to deny permits for the GPT project based upon the Lummi’s perceived potential impacts to their treaty-protected usual and accustomed fishing rights.
This request resulted in the Corps conducting an iterative fact generating process between the Lummi Nation and GPT. The Lummi’s request also resulted in increased efforts by GPT and other project proponents, such as the Crow Tribe in Montana (which has option rights in the project) and members of the U.S. Congress, to meet with the Lummi and discuss the project. The Lummi refused all requests and continued to press the Corps for a decision. The iterative process has now been completed and the Corps had indicated a decision would be issued imminently, though that now appears to have slid into the 2nd quarter of 2016.
“There are a number of reasons that have gone into this decision including the timing of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers consideration of the Lummi’s request and a desire to ensure all processes in the EIS are in sync, so facts and science generated by the different reviewing agencies continue to follow in line with the EIS process,” explained Bob Watters, SSA Marine Senior Vice President. “It makes the most sense to get this ruling out and in the clear. Based on the facts generated through the iterative process we believe the Corps should agree that there is less than a de minimis impact on the Lummi Tribe’s fishing rights and that the EIS process should be completed.”
SSA Marine, founded in Bellingham in 1949 and now based in Seattle, is a partner of the sponsoring GPT project entity, in which the Crow Tribe and Cloud Peak Energy also have interests.