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The Washington State Department of Ecology and the city of Hoquiam yesterday released draft environmental impact statements and scheduled two days of public hearings next month for two crude-oil-by-rail expansion projects proposed in Grays Harbor County.The separate projects, which state officials studied together for efficiency, involve the proposed expansion of the Westway Terminal Co. LLC's existing facility at the Port of Grays Harbor in Hoquiam. The company wants to build additional storage tanks to store crude oil, as well as pipelines and rail tracks where trains would be emptied, according to a project fact sheet. Currently, the existing facility is used for distributing methanol.The second project involves Imperium Terminal Services, which has an existing biodiesel production and transport facility also at the Port of Grays Harbor. Imperium’s facility currently handles biodiesel, petroleum diesel, vegetable oil and methanol, which are transported by rail, truck, ships and barges.Imperium proposes expanding its facility to allow for the handling, storage and use of different types of liquids. The proposal includes building new storage tanks, pipelines and rail tracks. The proposed projects would receive crude oil and other bulk liquids transported via rail on the Puget Sound & Pacific Railroad (PS&P) line, which extends from BNSF Railway Co.'s mainline in Centralia to the project sites in Hoquiam, or about 59 miles.Currently, rail traffic on the PS&P line is about three train trips per day. The projects would expand existing rail on the project sites. Westway would expand the current two short spurs with 18 loading and unloading spots to four longer spurs for a total of 80 loading and unloading spots. Imperium’s project calls for building 6,100 feet of track for two new spur extensions, in addition to the five existing spurs. The expansions would be on the project sites and not part of the PS&P line.Public hearings on the draft statements will be held Oct. 1 and Oct. 8. Comments also can be submitted online and by mail.
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