May 26, 2016 - Quinault Indian Nation fights to protect Grays Harbor from Proposed Crude Oil Terminal*
“Tribal and commercial fisheries, tourism and the best razor clams anywhere are among the many ways Grays Harbor, our rivers and coastline set the table for local food, jobs and our economy. There’s nothing more important to our future prosperity and way of life than keeping our waterways healthy, productive, and safe from crude oil.” -Tyson Johnston, QIN Vice-President
No crude oil currently moves through the Quinault Indian Reservation or Grays Harbor, but in the coming months this could change, as state and local leaders will decide whether to permit expanded facilities at the Port of Grays Harbor that will allow crude oil to move through our region.
The good news is that plans for two other proposed terminals are in question. U.S. Development Group has terminated its Port of Grays Harbor lease option. Renewable Energy Group (REG) has stated it will not pursue crude oil shipments in and out of its expanded terminal, but the Nation is monitoring the status of the original proposal to limit REG’s activities. Any expansion would bring impacts from increased marine vessel traffic, such as limiting access to Quinault fishing areas.
Quinault Dancers at Point Grenville
We have to keep the pressure on. Quinault members and our local allies must continue to speak up for the safety of our families and way of life.
Local elected officials, businesses, fishermen, and wildlife enthusiasts are among the many Grays Harbor residents who share our concerns about the negative impacts expanded crude oil terminals, trains and tankers would have on our coastal communities.
Broadly shared concerns came through loud and clear in a recent poll, commissioned by the Quinault Indian Nation, which found 57% of Grays Harbor County voters oppose plans to transport by rail, store and ship crude oil along the West Coast and to overseas refineries.
Our lands and shared waters are invaluable to the Quinault Nation and our neighbors; they sustain our culture and way of life.
Grays Harbor is essential habitat for shellfish, including oysters and razor clams, fish such as salmon, steelhead and sturgeon and is a major nursery ground for Dungeness crab.
As local and state officials continue to weigh their decision, we hope they will come to the same conclusion we have: that on balance any modest economic benefits we may get from the expanded terminals are far outweighed by the many risks and costs.
We can do better than crude oil. Let’s work to build our economy in ways that are consistent with the views of a majority of County residents and the sustainable industries we already have in place and can build on.
*Statement by Quinault Indian Nation
Quinault Indian Nation Vice President Tyson Johnston (center) marching at the Break Free Indigenous Peoples march at March Point photo by Alex Garland