Submission Number: MBTL-EIS-0002046
Received: 11/14/2013 3:52:09 PM
Commenter: Chuenchom Greacen
Agency: Cowlitz County, the Washington Department of Ecology, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Initiative: Millennium Bulk-Terminals Longview EIS
Attachments: No Attachments
This comment concerns seismic risks and tsunamis.
The EIS study needs to analyze the risks and impacts of earthquakes/tsunamis to coal bulk carriers and the export terminal. A study by Oregon State University (see http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/node/13426) found that the northern “Cascadia subduction zone”, from WA to Vancouver island have a 10-15% chance of a mega-quake (magnitude 8 or greater) within the next 50 years. Another study by scientists at the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC), Canada's premier agency for geoscientific information and research (under the Department of Natural Resources) also found the chance of up to 14% of a “great earthquake within 50 years. But the chance could be significantly higher (up to 40%) if the quakes occur in “clusters”, a concept not totally well understood by scientists yet (Source: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/hazards/about/workshops/PacNWworkshoptalks/AdamsCascCondProbUSGS06.pdf).
In the worst case scenario, what would be the magnitude and location of quakes and tsunamis? What would be the extent and nature of destruction and damages to the coal vessels and export terminal caused by the “worst case” quakes and tsunamis?
The nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi complex was designed to withstand the “worst case” quakes and tsunami only to find out in hindsight that quakes worse than “worst case” do happen and the facilities were far from being 100% quake- or tsunami-proof as the engineers/government claimed. Are ships or the dock designed and built to be “earthquake-proven” or “tsumani-proven”? If so, how? If not, why not?
What would the resulting impacts (on ecology, property, public health, economy, etc.) from “worst case” damage to coal carriers and export terminal look like? What’s our current capacity to respond to or clean up spills or related damages? Is that sufficient? What would sufficient capacity look like? How long will it take to restore the health of our marine environment, shoreline ecology and island economy? What would be the estimated damages in dollars if such a “worst case” event were to happen?
Are there arrangements and plans being made by any agency or companies involved to increase our collective preparedness in case of such disastrous events? By whom? Is there sufficient funding to increase our preparedness to deal with such disastrous events? If not, where should the fund come from? As residents and taxpayers of WA state, my husband and I are not benefiting from increasing shipping traffic but have to bear the risks.
Are there any provisions that require businesses that benefit from coal export (from mining companies to railways, terminal and shipping companies) to pay for increased preparedness and set aside sufficient funds for clean up activities and compensation damages (without residents having to engage in decades-long lawsuits to seek justice and redress)?
If the risk of a major earthquake and tsunami that can adversely affect coal carriers and terminal is not zero and there is no positive assurance that the resulting devastating impacts can be mitigated, the project should not get built in the first place.