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As for topical expansion, since climate change has returned to the world agenda and since coal is a major contributor to climate change, including Gateway's impacts on this phenomenon in the EIS could have global implications.
In like manner, the breadth of scientific studies widens if environmental reviews expand beyond Gateway Pacific’s thousand-acre site at Cherry Point. The impact of more shipping on whale migrations and the dangers of collisions or spills in the San Juan Islands are just a few of the issues opponents have raised. Onshore, opponents point to BNSF’s massive coal trains all along the shipping route, demanding health studies about the impact of diesel emissions, coal dust and safety.
SSA Marine, its partners and supporters would prefer that the EIS stay limited to the site itself. The group opposes linking GPT to other coal port proposals in the region, such as Millennium. BNSF is sure to make the point that interstate commerce is governed by federal law and a federal agency with wide jurisdiction over railroads.
The multi-year process to determine whether and how the Gateway Pacific Terminal gets built will be fraught with all kinds of legal, logistical, political and environmental intrigue and peril. But in the end, we will have a decision.
In Part Three of this series, coming tomorrow, we examine the critical question: Who Decides.
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