Washington SCT Rules in Favor of Tribe in Gray Harbor Oil Terminal Dispute

Here is the opinion in Quinault Indian Nation v. Imperium Terminal Services LLC.

An excerpt:

Two companies applied for permits to expand their oil terminals on the shores of Grays Harbor. The expansion would facilitate the storage of additional fuel products, which would arrive by train or truck and depart by oceanbound ship. The issue here is whether the Ocean Resources Management Act (ORMA), chapter 43.143 RCW, applies to these expansion projects. The Shoreline Hearings Board (Board) and the Court of Appeals held that ORMA does not apply to these projects based on limited definitions in the Department of Ecology’s (DOE) ORMA implementation regulations. We hold that this interpretation improperly restricts ORMA, which was enacted to broadly protect against the environmental dangers of oil and other fossil fuels. The pmties also contest whether these projects qualify as “ocean uses” or “transportation” under DOE’s regulations. We hold that these projects qualify as both ocean uses and transportation. Finally, though not discussed by the parties or the Court of Appeals, these projects qualify as “coastal uses” under DOE’s regulations. Accordingly, we reverse the Court of Appeals and remand for further review under ORMA’s provisions. 

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