*CANSS supports the appeal filed by Responsible Growth * NE Washington, challenging Pend Oreille County’s Determination of Non-Significance and the SEPA Environmental Checklist for Comprehensive Plan Amendment CPU-18-001 (the County’s zoning amendments).
*An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) needs to be prepared to determine the potential impacts of the County’s zoning amendments – including the proposed PacWest smelter. The County has failed to conduct the required environmental review and analysis. This is a violation of Washington’s State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).
*The County’s zoning amendments would abolish the public lands zoning designation – which covers 65% of the land in the County – and replace it with designations that allow for a greater level of future development, including industrial uses like the smelter. This clearly has potential impacts on the environment and requires full and careful consideration under the Growth Management Act.
*SEPA requires transparency and full disclosure of the probable impacts of what the County is proposing. The community deserves nothing less and has in fact been promised this level of scrutiny and fairness by the County, PacWest and even the Governor of Washington as it relates to the proposed PacWest smelter. They should be held to these promises.
*The proposed smelter is a real possibility under the County’s proposed zoning amendments. Without the proposed zoning change, the smelter cannot be built; with the zoning change, all that is required for the smelter is a simple conditional use permit. PacWest has made clear in public statements that it is waiting for this zoning change to be made by the County before proceeding. As a result, the potential environmental impacts of the smelter must be reviewed as part of the current zoning amendment process.
*Because the County hasn’t done the required EIS, they need to go back to the drawing board. This cannot be put off to some future date. It must be done now – as part of the zoning amendment process.
*The County’s SEPA determinations should be overturned, with instructions to do them correctly this time, including conducting an EIS. Until then, the County’s proposed zoning amendments – and the smelter – cannot be allowed to move forward.