Sep. 13, 2018 Ecology launches review of proposed smelter near Newport

Public input needed to shape environmental study

NEWPORT – The Washington Department of Ecology will conduct an environmental review for a proposed silicon smelter in Pend Oreille County.

PacWest Silicon plans to build a smelter on more than 180 acres at the Washington-Idaho border to produce up to 73,000 tons of silicon metal each year. The process combines quartz rock, wood chips, coal and charcoal with extremely high temperatures to produce the metal.

The environmental review will evaluate the potential impacts from the project, as well as options to help protect people and the environment.

Ecology is seeking input from the public on what to include in the study called an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), now through Oct. 11, 2018.

An EIS can analyze impacts on both the natural environment and nearby communities including how the project could affect air quality, plant and animal habitat, transportation, and cultural resources.

As part of the review process, the public can review project information and weigh in on the scope of the EIS by submitting comments online, or in person at one of four public meetings:

· Sept. 18, 6 - 9 p.m. at Spokane Convention Center, 334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. Spokane.

· Sept. 19, 6 - 9 p.m. at Newport High School, 1400 5th St., Newport.

· Sept. 20, 6 - 9 p.m. at Priest River Event Center, 5399 US-2, Priest River, ID

· Sept. 27, 3 p.m., by online webinar.

After public input is considered, Ecology will finalize the scope of the EIS and expects to have the draft study available for public review and comment sometime next year.

The final study will be an impartial, comprehensive document used as a resource for future decision-makers and the public to evaluate the company’s permit applications.