State officials recently confirmed the denial of the project’s removal fill permit after a series of eight delays. Morrow Pacific, also known as the Coyote Island Terminal, was the most advanced in the planning states of three planned Pacific Northwest exporting facilities.
DSL first received the permit application for the terminal in February 2012, after which it held three public review periods.
“From reading more than 20,000 public comments to carefully analyzing technical documents and plans, this application has been scrutinized for months,” said Mary Abrams, DSL director. “We believe our decision is the right one, considering our regulatory parameters laid out in Oregon law, and the wealth of information we have received from the applicant and the public.”
The terminal’s removal-fill permit application had proposed 572 cubic yards of permanent fill, in the form of pilings, in the Columbia River on submerged land owned by the Port of Morrow. Elements of the proposed work include construction staging; construction of an elevated, fixed dock and conveyor system; construction of an elevated, fixed-operation walkway with 12 supports; and construction of nine multi-pile structures (dolphins) installed adjacent to the walkway for vessel mooring.
In the department’s decision to deny the permit, Abrams said that the decision was reached after extensive deliberation, research and legal advice. “We used data provided by a wide array of parties, and weighed this information against what Oregon law says we must take into consideration in making removal-fill permit decisions. We fully believe that our conclusion to deny the Coyote Island Terminal permit is the right one.”
Morrow Pacific Project President and CEO Clark Moseley said in a statement that the DSL denied its permit “based on political pressure from a vocal minority.”
“We disagree with this permit decision,” he said. “Not only does the decision affect the Morrow Pacific project – it sets a new precedent that could impact future development on the Columbia River. We are evaluating our next steps, including the full range of legal and permitting options.”
Moseley also said that Morrow Pacific has repeatedly demonstrated that it meets Oregon’s high standards of doing business while protecting the environment, and noted that it already has received three permits to date from the state of Oregon for the project.