“O Canada, these are Our Waters, too!”

Just when you thought you had sent in your comments on every possible project proposal that would increase vessel traffic and accident and oil spill risk in our waters, along comes yet another. This one is just across the border.
The Centerm Expansion Project in Vancouver BC would increase container ship traffic through Georgia Strait, Boundary Pass, Haro Strait and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Because an imposing vessel traffic increase along our islands’ shores would affect us directly, we can’t miss the opportunity to be a part of the environmental review scoping process for this new terminal expansion. This is similar to our participation in the scoping processes for other projects threatening our waters by proposing notable increases in vessel traffic: the Gateway Pacific coal terminal at Cherry Point, the Millennium Bulk coal terminal in Longview, the Tesoro Savage oil export terminal in Vancouver WA, and the Shell refinery expansion in Anacortes.

Those projects received hundreds of thousands of letters expressing concerns for environmental protection, but thanks to the letters from Safe Shippers, ours were the only voices speaking out for our specific corner of the Salish Sea.

The preliminary comment period for the Centerm Expansion Project environmental review is now underway. Please send in your comments to make sure our special island concerns are addressed in finalizing the scope of the technical and environmental studies of this project.

• Download the blank pdf Feedback Form from http://porttalk.ca/centermexpansion; fill it out with the suggested “asks” (see below) or your own ones; and e-mail it in.
• OR, you may send in your own personal e-mail (include the “asks” listed below)
2. Phone: Tanya Howes, Communications Advisor, Centerm Expansion Project: 604.665.9577

COMMENT DEADLINE: This Friday, February 12.

Here’s what we know from experience:
• It’s not enough to evaluate project impacts only at the terminal site.
• Impacts of increased vessel traffic cannot be fully evaluated if only the proposed project’s traffic is analyzed.
• A thorough vessel traffic impacts analysis must include the waterways along our islands.
• An accurate study considers all the region’s projects that would increase vessel traffic and accident and oil spill risk. These include projects that have been approved and are under construction, as well as those in the application review process (all “reasonably foreseeable” projects).
• This project’s vessel traffic impacts to our orca whales must be addressed. Vessel traffic noise impacts our Southern Resident Killer Whales (see link to study below). The Southern Resident Killer Whales are federally listed as an endangered species and they are a keystone of our local economy.

This is what we ASK for: 
NOTE: In the Feedback Form, to check the “Strongly Disagree” box means that you don’t agree with the scope of the study — because it doesn’t include areas of importance to islanders).
• Page 9 MARINE TRAFFIC STUDY. Check the “Strongly Disagree” box and add:
This study must include an analysis of the project’s vessel traffic along the marine vessel route from the project terminal; through Georgia Strait, Boundary Pass, Haro Strait and the Strait of Juan de Fuca; and out to the 12 nautical mile territorial sea limit. Anticipated vessel traffic levels must include all current vessel traffic and all vessel traffic from reasonably foreseeable projects, including: the Discovery LNG export facility, Fraser Surrey Docks coal expansion, Woodfibre LNG export terminal, G3 Terminal Vancouver, Viterra Pacific Terminal expansion, Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion at the Westridge Terminal, WesPac LNG, Roberts Bank Terminal 2, Westshore Terminals expansion, Deltaport Terminal expansion, Malahat LNG export facility, Gateway Pacific Terminal, Tesoro Refinery expansion (xylene exports), NW Seaport Alliance expansion, and the Westway Terminal expansion. In addition, the anchorage patterns and mooring plans need to include all bunkering-related vessel traffic.
• Page 10 SPILL PREVENTION AND EMERGENCY RESPONSE PLAN (ON LAND AND WATER). Check the “Strongly Disagree” box and add:
This study must address transboundary spill prevention and emergency response planning. This study must also identify the funds that will pay for the spill prevention and emergency response plan.
• Page 17 SPECIES-AT-RISK ASSESSMENT. Check the “Strongly Disagree” box and add:
Identify all US Federal and WA State species that are listed as threatened or endangered. Address all vessel traffic and associated noise impacts to Southern Resident Killer Whales and their critical habitat (See: Ship noise extends to frequencies used by endangered killer whales: Noise in coastal habitats could interfere with orca’s communication, ability to locate scarce salmonhttp://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160202090531.htm)