Feds postpone meeting to discuss Glacier's EIS

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has postponed a meeting to discuss the scope of an environmental review Glacier Northwest will have to undertake before it can receive a permit to resume construction of its controversial pier.

The Corps had planned to hold the meeting next Tuesday, May 18. But Islanders — including Amy Carey, head of Preserve Our Islands, and Rep. Sharon Nelson (D-Maury Island) — objected to the amount of notice residents would receive for the meeting, considered a crucial step in determining the extent and scope of the environmental review process.

The Corps' meeting announcement — issued last week — amounted to a 10-day notice. Carey and others said a 30-day notice was in order.

The Corps, in an e-mail it sent out to Carey and others Wednesday, said it had decided to provide that 30-day notice.

"The Corps received considerable interest from concerned members of the public about their ability to attend and prepare to participate in the scheduled scoping meetings," Stuart Cook, chief of the Corps' operations division in its Seattle district, wrote in the e-mail. "Therefore, in order to accommodate the interested public, the Corps has decided to reschedule the previously scheduled meetings."

Carey said she was pleased by the decision.

"For a community like Vashon, this is a very big issue to a lot of people, so 30 days is what we'd expect," she said.

The Corps said new dates will be announced in the next two to three weeks.

The scoping process is one of the first steps in preparing an Environmental Impact Statement, a far-reaching analysis of a proposed project. A federal judge recently ordered the Corps to undertake the analysis, after Glacier, also known as Northwest Aggregates, had already received a permit from the federal agency allowing it to begin building its barge-loading pier.

The judge's order forced a halt to the project while Glacier undergoes this higher level of environmental scrutiny.

Meanwhile, the Cascade Land Conservancy is working with Glacier in an effort to purchase its 237-acre mine site on the eastern flank of Maury. Glacier, according to officials, is willing to sell, if the two sides can agree on a price.

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