Updated Salish Sea Vessel Traffic Projections Released

Posted November 18, 2021 at 5:54 am by

Photo by @Truba at Twenty20.com

San Juan Coun­ty, WA, USA. – The recent­ly updat­ed Sal­ish Sea Ves­sel Traf­fic Pro­jec­tions (PDF — Nov. 2021) pro­vid­ed by Friends of the San Juans shows that at least a 25% increase in large, ocean-going com­mer­cial ves­sel traf­fic could occur if all of the pro­posed new and expand­ing ter­mi­nal and refin­ery projects are per­mit­ted and con­struct­ed, as com­pared with 2020.

Twelve of the 22 projects would add at least 2,634 annu­al ves­sel tran­sits to and from Sal­ish Sea ports in British Colum­bia. Canada’s Trans Moun­tain Pipeline Expan­sion project and the pro­posed new con­tain­er ship ter­mi­nal at Roberts Bank account for almost half of the pro­ject­ed increase in ves­sel traf­fic that has been quantified.

Click to see full infographic (PDF)

What is sig­nif­i­cant about this Sal­ish Sea Ves­sel Traf­fic Pro­jec­tion is that the 25% increase does not include any of the ten new, expan­sion, or rede­vel­op­ment projects in Wash­ing­ton state. Sev­er­al of these projects will like­ly result in increased ocean-going ves­sel traf­fic but lack any review of the poten­tial increased ves­sel traf­fic-relat­ed envi­ron­men­tal impacts and lack any con­sid­er­a­tion of alter­na­tives or mit­i­ga­tion measures.

Ves­sel traf­fic impacts the crit­i­cal­ly endan­gered South­ern Res­i­dent killer whales by dis­rupt­ing their for­ag­ing, affects their abil­i­ty to com­mu­ni­cate and cap­ture scarce prey, and increas­es the risk of fatal ship strikes. Addi­tion­al ves­sel traf­fic also increas­es the risk of acci­dents and oil spills. A major oil spill could cause the South­ern Res­i­dents’ extinc­tion and would impact the entire marine ecosys­tem and our envi­ron­men­tal, cul­tur­al, and eco­nom­ic resources.

“It is unac­cept­able that these Wash­ing­ton-based projects are being per­mit­ted with­out assur­ances that any increased ves­sel traf­fic and asso­ci­at­ed impacts to the marine habi­tats and imper­iled species will be addressed. This includes endan­gered Chi­nook salmon and South­ern Res­i­dent killer whales,” said R. Brent Lyles, Friends of the San Juans’ Exec­u­tive Direc­tor. “If our region and our state are seri­ous about the long-term health of the Sal­ish Sea, it’s obvi­ous that per­mits must be con­di­tioned to require any increased ves­sel traffic’s impacts to be addressed.”

Friends of the San Juans issued its first Sal­ish Sea Ves­sel Traf­fic Pro­jec­tions in 2015 to pro­vide the pub­lic and deci­sion-mak­ers with com­pre­hen­sive infor­ma­tion about projects through­out the Sal­ish Sea that would increase large com­mer­cial ocean-going ves­sel traf­fic and asso­ci­at­ed cumu­la­tive impacts. The Sal­ish Sea Ves­sel Traf­fic Pro­jec­tions info­graph­ic (PDF) illus­trates the need for cumu­la­tive envi­ron­men­tal impact analy­ses when ves­sel traf­fic increas­es result from new or expand­ing ter­mi­nal and refin­ery projects. For more infor­ma­tion go to sanjuans.org/ssvtp/.

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Categories: Environment, Safety, Wildlife

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