Work on the environmental review (EIS) process for the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT) dry bulk commodity export terminal on the West Coast of the US has been suspended, according to a press release. The project is currently waiting on a ruling by the US Army Corps of Engineers relating to a request by the Lummi Tribe’s to deny permits to the GPT project.
The Lummi Tribe requested the Corps deny permits to the project based on perceived potential impacts to the tribe’s treaty-protected fishing rights. The request resulted in the Corps conducting a fact-finding process, which has not been completed, with a decision expected shortly.
“There are a number of reasons that have gone into this decision, including the timing of the US Army Corps of Engineers consideration of the Lummi’s request and a desire to ensure all processes in the EIS are in sync,” explained Bob Watters, Senior Vice President at SSA Marine, a one of the companies sponsoring development of the GTP.
“It makes sense to get this ruling out and in the clear. Based on the facts […] we believe the Corp’s 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.”
GTP was originally proposed to boost US coal exports to Asia at a time of high coal prices on the back of high demand for coal from Asia. However, the recent downturn in the coal industry has thrown the economics of US thermal coal exports into doubt.
In February, Wood Mackenzie said that the slump in global coal prices and a contraction in Asian demand have made US coal export unable to compete with regional suppliers, such as Australia and Indonesia.
“Three short years ago, the conventional wisdom was both that growing thermal coal demand in Asia couldn’t be met by regional suppliers and that low-cost coal from the US would fill the breech,” said Wood Mackenzie’s Andy Roberts. “The intervening three years have made clear what a miscalculation that was. Opposition to major projects – Gateway Pacific, Millenium and Port Morrow – has been effective […] But as challenging as this was for port developers, the larger problem has been economic.”
Edited by Jonathan Rowland.
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcoal.com/handling/04042016/development-of-gateway-pacific-terminal-suspended-2016-513/