September 5, 2016 Sandy Robson
At the upcoming September 13th Whatcom County Council meeting the Council will be presented a contract Amendment to Contract No. 201205028, the contract between Whatcom County and CH2M Hill (EIS consultant) for preparation of the EIS for the Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT) and Custer Spur Modification project.
That contract Amendment is numbered by the County Administration as No. 5.1. Amendment 5.1, if approved, would extend contract No. 201205028 for 180 days—until March 13, 2017.
I started wondering why is this amendment numbered 5.1, when all the other Amendments to the contract were numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5? Why wasn’t the next amendment numbered as Amendment No. 6?
Then I remembered a May 26, 2016 email from Deputy Executive Tyler Schroeder sent to PIT, BNSF, CH2M Hill, and some others recipients, in which there was a reference to an “Amendment 6.” That email has not been made public on the County’s GPT webpage, but I was sent a copy of it after multiple requests. I have attached a screenshot photo of that email.
Amendment No. 6 was/is one of the options that our County Administration offered to permit applicants PIT and BNSF, in an April 18, 2016 email sent to Bob Watters of PIT/SSA Marine, and Skip Kalb of BNSF. That April 18 email has not been made public on the County’s GPT webpage, and I have not seen it.
I think the reason the newest proposed Amendment to Contract No. 201205028 is numbered 5.1, is because there is already an Amendment No. 6.
Below, is an excerpt from the May 26th email which referenced Amendment 6:
“1. Prepare and execute any of the documents necessary to extend the contract for the time necessary, not to exceed 180 days, to accomplish the GPT Suspension Work Plan as outlined in a April 15, 2016 email from Kristen Smids at CH2M Hill
2. Sign Amendment #6, as presented in a April 18th, 2016 email to you and Skip Kalb and move forward and complete the preparation of the SEPA draft EIS
If either option 1 or option 2 is not accomplished within the 60 day timeframe, this contract will expire after the 60 days period.”
Amendment 6 is intended as an option for permit applicants PIT and BNSF, should they decide to move forward with completing the EIS for the GPT project.
To all appearances, Amendment 5.1 is simply another delay, this one for 180 days—until March 13, 2017, on top of the multiple suspension extensions which have already been afforded the permit applicants since April 1, 2016. At any time during this proposed 180-day contract suspension (“ramp-down”), or at the end of it, it sounds like the permit applicants could decide they want to resume the EIS in order to complete that process. After all, there is Amendment No. 6 already drawn-up, ready and waiting for them.
The language in the August 31, 2016 Memorandum from County Administration (from Deputy Executive Schroeder for County Executive Louws) regarding the proposed contract Amendment (No. 5.1) to Contract No. 201205028, gives the impression the proposed Amendment 5.1 simply allows for the tying-up of loose ends and for closing things out on the EIS. That might feel comforting to those opposed to the GPT project.
For example, in the County Administration’s Memorandum to County Council, it states the 180-day extension allows the parties to “accomplish ramp down activities to ensure that the work and contracts are closed out in and orderly fashion.”
When opponents to the GPT project read that comforting language, it’s important to remember that this contract Amendment No. 5.1 is considered a “contract suspension.” That term “contract suspension” is used in the contract itself and in the Memorandum.
And when reading the phrase, “ensure that the work and contracts are closed out in and orderly fashion,” it is important to note that on page 14 of contract Amendment 5.1, in CH2M Hill’s “Ramp Down Plan,” paragraph 2 of the Introduction, the final sentence of that paragraph reads:
“The Scope of Work outlined below identifies the consultant team’s assumptions related to project suspension and the ramp-down activities recommended to ensure that work is closed out in an orderly fashion and can be efficiently resumed at a future date.”
This “ramp-down” contract suspension is about delay.
No more delays. No more extensions. No more suspensions. It’s time to terminate this EIS. Please tell our County Council members to vote “NO” on Amendment 5.1 to Contract No. 201205028, the contract between Whatcom County and CH2M Hill for preparation of the EIS for the GPT and Custer Spur Modification project.
Please plan on attending the September 13, 2016 Whatcom County Council meeting! Here is the Facebook event page for this meeting:
And here is the write-up for the event:
WE need to be there in numbers to tell our council to vote NO on any further extensions to the EIS contract for the Gateway Pacific Terminal project. Whatcom County Administration has agreed to extend the EIS contract for the GPT project through March 13, 2017. The County Council will be asked to vote on that contract extension at the September 13, 2016 Council meeting.
The permits have been denied. The Lummi Nation has won. There will be no GPT project so there is absolutely no reason why any further extensions should take place. It has been almost 6 months since the Army Corp of Engineers denied the permit for the project. These extensions are not in the best interest of our community. We need to move on and have an open dialog with our councilmembers about the future of Cherry Point.
PLEASE come to this meeting on the 13th and speak up (by being there and/or by speaking)
Here are the email addresses for the Whatcom County Council. Sending your email to all these addresses is most effective: