The Mason County Planner stated that ADAGE deeds to produce an Environmental Impact Statement. There is no guarantee that ADAGE can get this done before the end of December. If ADAGE does not break ground before the end of December they will miss out on 75 million dollars of taxpayer subsidies. ADAGE packed up and left Grenta Florida when they learned they could not break ground in time for subsidies there. I expect ADAGE to do the same thing in Shelton.
The port of Shelton is also being sued over ADAGE, this will cause yet another delay for ADAGE. In the mean time Simpson is still working on its biomass plant that will be almost as big as the proposed ADAGE and will spew out nearly the same amount of pollution according to the ORCAA permit application documents.
September 10, 2010
F. Reed Wills, President
ADAGE Mason LLC
225 Wilmington West Chester Pike, Suite 302
Chadds Ford, PA 19317
Re: Biomass Electric Power Plant Proposal- Request for Early Notice under SEPA
Dear Mr. Wills:
I am writing in response to your request for "early notice" under the State Environmental Policy Act [SEPA, WAC 197-11-350(2)] as to whether Mason County is considering a Determination of Significance (DS) for the Biomass Electric Power Plant project proposed for construction and operation at the Johns Prairie Industrial Park. As SEPA lead agency, Mason County has the responsibility under WAC 197-11-310 and Mason County Code 8.16 for making a threshold determination on the proposal.
Community Development staff have reviewed the environmental checklist and supporting documents submitted for the proposed project. As part of the review process our staff consulted with other County departments and agencies with jurisdiction and received written comments from the Mason County Public Works and Public Health Departments, the Mason County Noxious Weed Control Board, the City of Shelton, and the Washington Department of Ecology. A summary of those comments is attached to this letter.
ln addition, the County's SEPA consultant, Pacific International Engineering, reviewed the checklist and supporting documents and identified additional data gaps or areas needing clarification. Those items are also listed in the attachment.
Based on our initial review, Mason County considers issuance of a DS likely for the proposal. We have two primary areas of concern. First, WAC 197-11-330 states that a number of marginal impacts may together result in a significant impact. The proposed project would entail several potential impacts that may be mitigated, but not completely eliminated. Such impacts include but may not be limited to:
Odor emissions from biomass storage or other areas on site
Air emissions not captured by pollution controls
Degradation of water quality from accidental spills or releases
Permanent loss of 75 or more acres of forested habitat
Injury and/or mortality of wildlife from vehicle/animal collisions
Ongoing, long-term disturbance of adjacent habitats
Impacts (e.9., noise, dust, engine emissions, public safety, visual aesthetics) on residential areas from construction and use of the relocated access road
Noise from heavy trucks idling or operating on site
Impacts on existing uses from added truck and employee vehicle traffic on access routes
lnjury, property damage, or other impacts from fire, explosion, or accidental release of chemical products
We have concluded that, considered together, these impacts are likely to result in a significant adverse impact and that a DS is consistent with the provisions of WAC 197-11-330.
Second, WAC 197-11-794 states that an impact may be significant if its chance of occurrence is not great, but its effect would be severe if it occurred. With regard to the proposed project, the likelihood of fire, explosion or accidental release of chemicals is not known. Although the probability of occurrence may be low, if any of these events were to occur, the impact could be significant because of the proximity of residential areas to the west and south of the project site.
ln addition, a review of RCW 70.95.700 indicates that an Environmental lmpact Statement (ElS) is required for this proposal. That statute provides that "[N]o solid waste incineration or energy recovery facility shall be operated prior to completion of an environmental impact statement containing the considerations required under RCW 43.21C.030(2)(c) and prepared pursuant to the procedures of chapter 43.21C RCW."
Under RCW 70.95D.010, facilities that have the primary purpose of burning hog fuel are excluded as solid waste incinerators. However, RCW 70.95.030(8) defines "energy recovery" as "a process operating under federal and state environmental laws and regulations for converting solid waste into usable energy and for reducing the volume of solid waste." The proposed project appears to be an energy recovery facility under this definition.
“Solid waste" is defined under RCW 70.95.030 as "all putrescible or nonputrescible solid and semisolid wastes including, but not limited to, garbage, rubbish, ashes, industrial wastes, swill, sewage sludge, demolition and construction wastes, abandoned vehicles or parts thereof, and recyclable materials." At least a portion of the biomass fuel proposed to be used (i.e., construction wood waste) explicitly meets this definition. The fuel derived from slash wood, understory wood, and material from pre-commercial thinning is woody debris that would normally be abandoned on logged sites and may also be considered solid waste under this definition.
We interpret these statutes to mean that the proposed project is a solid waste energy recovery facility that may not be operated until an EIS on the project has been completed.
The information that has been submitted and reviewed to date is reasonably sufficient to evaluate the impacts of the proposal and to make a threshold determination. However, under MCC 8,16.050 an applicant may change or clarify a proposal to mitigate impacts, revising the environmental checklist as necessary to reflect the changes or clarifications. Should ADAGE Mason LLC wish to make changes or clarifications to its proposal to mitigate the project's impacts, those measures must be submitted in writing and must be specific. Changes and clarifications should address the concerns raised in this letter as well as those listed in the attached comment summary. They should also address the additional information requested in our July 26,2010 letters of incompleteness issued in response to ADAGE Mason's Special Use Permit and Environmental Permit applications. All changes and clarifications should be contained in one composite set of new or revised documents and must be received by Mason County within 60 days of the date of this letter. The SEPA review process will be suspended during this period. lf a revised submittal is not received by November 12,2010, Mason County will issue a threshold determination based on the information that has already been submitted and reviewed.
Barbara A. Adkins, AICP
c: Monty Cobb, Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney
Grace Miller, Senior Planner
Mason County Board of County Commissioners