TERMINAL 5: Port of Seattle will do an Environmental Impact Statement for modernization project, after all

A big development tonight in the Port of Seattle‘s plan to “modernize” Terminal 5 in West Seattle – and in neighbors’ push for a full environmental review.

The Port announced tonight that it will be creating an Environmental Impact Statement for the modernization project after all. It had not been planning on one – believing, as reps told the West Seattle Transportation Coalition in July, that while it would have bigger ships, it wouldn’t have bigger cargo volume. But neighbors had campaigned for an EIS, even placing roadside signs promoting a website that pointed to a petition, as reported here back in August:

Then, there were hints that the tide on this might be turning, including a mention at this month’s Southwest District Council meeting that a potential tenant with whom the port was talking would have needs beyond what had been anticipated when the port said it didn’t need to do a major review. And now tonight, port reps sent word of the plan for the EIS. A website is already live, with both an “online open house” that you can explore at any time – officially, tomorrow (October 22nd) through Nov. 23rd – and word of a “scoping meeting” set for 5:30-8:30 pm November 12th at The Hall at Fauntleroy. (The process is explained here.)

Shortly after receiving word of the planned EIS from community advocates (thank you), we also received a news release from port spokesperson Peter McGraw. We asked him a followup question on whether this was an indication an announcement of a tenant is imminent; his reply – “We continue to have discussions with potential customers.” You can read the full news release here.

12 Replies to "TERMINAL 5: Port of Seattle will do an Environmental Impact Statement for modernization project, after all"

  • Jeanie October 22, 2015 (12:33 am)

    That’s welcome news. I’m glad I signed the petition. Citizen participation is vital; otherwise we are likely to get steamrolled by various government entities.

  • candrewb October 22, 2015 (5:53 am)

    Thank God, for a minute there it was looking like this thing could be on time and under budget.

  • Jim October 22, 2015 (8:52 am)

    candrewb – This environmental review is required by the T5 permit issued by DPD because of the increased cargo volumes beyond the allowed limits.

    -On Time? The Port decided to expand T5 in 2014. If they had done the right thing from the beginning, the EIS would be completed by now.

    -Under budget? – The Port just kicked more millions into the budget because they under estimated the pile driving costs. Don’t blame the EIS for the budget.

  • wetone October 22, 2015 (1:17 pm)

    Hope the EIS will include BNSF roadroad as it will need rebuild of area to service increased cargo/containers demand through area. Such as: new rail bridge built as one in service today was built 1928, new/added tracks, noise impact to area (horns). All is on shoreline and over river. Can’t wait to see how big of levy city will stick us for this one………

  • patricia davis October 22, 2015 (9:08 pm)

    Beware West Seattle residents: We are now slated as a heavy industrial traffic corridor and those added train tracks mentioned above are greatly going to add to our air and noise pollution from trains. I can’t help but wonder why the Port doesn’t use the East Waterway for this given East Marginal Way borders 3 port terminals that are right next to each other (including the suddenly disappeared Terminal 25….humm…puff! gone???
    Putting the ‘go to’ terminal (which Terminal 5 is slated to be) on the EAST WATERWAY makes sense in all regards. It has a wide area around it of industrial zoning. West Seattle, in contrast, is ‘upwind’ of major pollution from the Port/Terminal 5 and highly residential. Truck parking, truck traffic, rail traffic, and three side by side Terminal would make much more sense. Apparently the Port needs to dig down about the same distance ‘for deepening’ whether it on the East Side of Elliott Bay or Terminal 5. Why Terminal 5? If we allow that – you can expect massive more truck traffic, diesel pollution, air pollution, noise pollution, etc. At the deepest level this question: Why is Terminal 5 being selected out for this? Why not border East Marginal and have 3 Terminal in a row operational?

  • Dale October 23, 2015 (9:56 am)

    I really don’t see how the upgrades pencil out. The Port it seems, is doing a big Ask. The basis is however an anticipated demand & usage for large berth ships. I believe there is maybe less then two dozen of these built or planning on being built. Every Port doesn’t have to be a landing strip for the next Concorde.

  • wetone October 23, 2015 (2:16 pm)

    It only pencils out because project and operation will be hugely subsidized by levy’s. Port of Seattle already is one of the most subsidized ports in the US. Having Port of Seattle Commission Co-President Courtney Gregoire involved makes it only worse for me as her mom did not impress with her spending habits and subsidizes she gave out losing 10’s of millions per yr. Add the “Heavy Haul Corridor” to the T-5 project and expect another billion+ dollar levy coming soon. Mayor Murray likes the limelight of Seattle’s “bigger than yours” projects during design and build phase, whether they pencil out or positive improvement seems not to concern him as he has the bank of Seattle to pay his blunders.

  • PJ October 23, 2015 (9:27 pm)

    West Seattle neighbors…please, please, please make a public comment during this EIS scoping period before Nov 23rd. Thanks for signing the online petition to get an EIS, now we need to make sure the EIS covers the impacts that we will face when T5 nearly doubles in traffic volume in 4 years. We need to protect our property values, our health, and our sanity while crossing the W.S. bridge. Let’s give the Port “hell” at the public scoping meeting on the evening of Nov 12 at the Hall at Fauntleroy. See you there!

  • patricia davis October 28, 2015 (8:53 pm)

    the community meeting with Port of Seattle at Hall at Fauntleroy (located at 9131 California Ave SW) will be held from 5:30 – 8:30 pm. Now that the EIS is going to happen, we need to think ahead on what protects West Seattle the most long term. We need PERMANENT ON SITE air pollution monitoring (via Puget Sound Clean Air Agency) with ‘real time’ pollution information; we also need PERMANENT ON SITE noise monitoring. There is petition online right now to get on site air and noise monitoring.
    http://www.terminal5group.com (who created the petition for an EIS) is changing domain hosts, and in a couple of days (by Nov. 1, 2015) their site will have the link to change.org to sign the petition for permanent, on site air pollution and noise pollution monitoring at Terminal 5. We are slated for lots of trucks, bigger ships, more railroad activity. That means a lot of diesel, pollution, and noise. We NEED on site air quality monitoring and noise monitoring (not done by the Port – but instead via Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and City of Seattle. We need online ‘real time’ data, a way to document air and noise complaints online; and a way to ensure there is a response and remedy to air and noise offenses. Please come to the meet (above comment by PJ) and ask for permanent, on site and perimeter (eg: in E.Admiral and N. Admiral at a minimum) air pollution monitoring – permanently. We are enduring huge health hazards from all that diesel and other pollutants – along with many people complaining of loss of sleep due to train horns and train noises during sleeping hours. We have a right to clean air, and to sleep at night. Please do you part and come to the meeting, sign the petition and tell your friends. After Nov. 1 please (write this down) go to http://www.terminal5group.com for the petition. Each person matters – please do you part.

  • AnotherRealist November 2, 2015 (2:10 pm)

    Hi folks! I’d STRONGLY urge everyone interested to (1) become educated on the plans, goals, & process through reliable sources and (2) attend the meetings and be active in our community!

    In reading some of the comments, above, there are statements that are factual but there are also statements that are inaccurate. Knee-jerk reactions only hurt your cause!

    Before you support one cause or another, please make sure to read up and support it with a solid reference!

    Thanks WSB for keeping us in the loop, and the WS folks that are so interested and engaged. Love this town!!!

  • SeaweedToasted November 8, 2015 (12:44 pm)

    You know what sucks? The upcoming Scoping Mtg at Fauntleroy Hall is the same night almost exact same time as the 2035 Seattle Comprehenive Plan update meeting at the Senior Ctr in the AK Junction. Nov 12 (5:30/6:00 pm) Oy. Coincidence? Conspiracy or just plain old stupid luck? WSB, thanks for helping get the word out, raise awareness and post about actions we can take to help! #IncreasethePeace #SeattlePeaceAlliance

    • WSB November 8, 2015 (12:51 pm)

      Yes, and the 2035 meeting has been on the city calendar at least since September (the first time we published word of it was 9/29) so it’s unfortunate the Port did not seem to take note of that. (It’s also West Seattle Art Walk night, not the same level on the gravity scale BUT also a major local event of note, it’s been on the second Thursday for a very long time) … P.S. While not ideal, it is possible to go to both – the presentation at the 2035 meeting isn’t until 6:30. I’m checking with the port tomorrow to confirm the format of their meeting.

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