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PT Air Watchers v. State

ELR Citation: 44 ELR 20039
Nos. 88208-8, (Wash., 02/27/2014)

The Washington Supreme Court upheld the state environmental agency's determination that an EIS was not necessary for a proposed biomass cogeneration project at a kraft pulp and paper mill. An environmental group argued that by not preparing an EIS, the agency failed to adequately consider the effects of carbon dioxide emissions and demand for woody biomass from the state's forests. But the agency correctly concluded that greenhouse gas emissions from the project would not have significant environmental impacts. The agency properly considered the legislative policy behind Rev. Wash. Code §70.235.020(3), which demonstrates the legislature's preference for the burning of woody biomass over the burning of other fuels. In addition, the agency's determination of no significance contained sufficient information to weigh the environmental impacts of the project. The agency also correctly concluded that the project would not result in adverse impacts to forest resources. And because the project is an energy recovery facility that has been burning solid waste since before January 1, 1989, the agency correctly concluded that an EIS is not required under Rev. Wash. Code §70.95.700.