The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) rulemaking to establish official anchorage areas on the eastern edge of our island archipelago doesn’t include a full environmental review. These anchorages neighbor several federal, state, and locally protected areas that are important to many San Juan Islanders, including the Jack Island and Vendovi Island Preserves, made possible thanks to the San Juan Preservation Trust and all their members.
These anchorage areas are basically parking lots for large and larger ships that are waiting their turn to load or off-load their cargo and, in some cases, being filled up with propulsion fuel (aka “bunkering”).
Because these anchorage areas are already in use, the USCG claims that there will be no changes/impacts as a result of the proposed rulemaking, and that no Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is needed. WE DISAGREE!
THE IMPACTS WOULD BE TREMENDOUS! HERE ARE JUST SOME OF THEM:
- These proposed anchorage areas are next to protected areas of natural beauty and environmental significance: Vendovi Island Preserve, Jack Island Preserve, San Juan Islands National Monument, San Juan Islands National Wildlife Refuge, the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Washington State Marine Protected Areas, the San Juan Islands Marine Preserve Area, and the San Juan County Marine Biological Preserve.
- The Tesoro Refinery is proposing to manufacture and export xylene, a highly toxic petrochemical. More ships with new cargos in these proposed anchorage areas could have significant environmental and human health and safety impacts.
- Our ports are gearing up for “ultra-large” container ships that will also use these anchorage areas. Ultra-large ships will cause ultra-large noise impacts to our federally listed as endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales. The rulemaking states that the “USCG finds that the proposed action would have No Effect on endangered marine mammals or marine mammal critical habitat.” WRONG! Safe Shippers need to speak up for our orca whales and the impacts to their critical habitat.
- More and/or bigger ships demand more bunkering at the proposed anchorage areas which increases the risk of oil spills.
PLEASE SEND IN YOUR COMMENTS ASKING THE USCG TO:
- Implement this rulemaking to include a full assessment of all adverse environmental impacts and ensure that all the US anchorage areas in use in the Salish Sea (including Puget Sound) are codified and regulated to include all appropriate accident and oil spill risk mitigation measures and environmental impact mitigation measures.
- Comply with 49 U.S.C. 303 (c) (1) and (2) POLICY ON LANDS, WILDLIFE AND WATERFOWL REFUGES, AND HISTORIC SITES that says the Secretary of Transportation may approve a transportation project requiring the use of publicly owned land only if:
(1) there is no prudent and feasible alternative to using that land; and (2) the program or project includes all possible planning to minimize harm to the park, recreation area, wildlife and waterfowl refuge, or historic site resulting from the use.
- Conduct an EIS that addresses all reasonably foreseeable uses of the proposed anchorage areas (vessel numbers, sizes, cargos, and bunkering).
- Mitigate impacts by prohibiting bunkering at the proposed anchorage areas at the Vendovi and Jack Island Preserves and at William Point on Samish Island.
- Prohibit deep-draft vessels from anchoring outside of designated and codified anchorage areas.
COMMENTS ARE DUE AUGUST 9, 2017
Online and email comments must be submitted by August 9 @ 10:00pm PST.
Mail must be postmarked by August 9, 2017.
ALL COMMENTS MUST INCLUDE: Docket number USCG-2016-0916
Online (see top right of webpage):
Mail: Commander, USCG Sector Puget Sound, Attn: Waterways Management / USCG-2016-0916,
1519 Alaskan Way S, Seattle, WA 98134
For more information: Mr. Laird Hail, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound; telephone 206-217-6051; email SectorPugetSoundWWM@uscg.mil
The Proposed Rule Document
About Vendovi Island Preserve
The Campaign to Save Vendovi Island
About Jack Island Preserve
Map of NOAA-designated Critical Habitat for SRKW
Thank you to San Juan Islanders for Safe Shipping for compiling all of these awesome resources!