The Port of Newport may have hit a minor snag in launching its log export operations. But port officials say they’re confident they’ll get all the permits they need – but maybe just not as fast as they had hoped.
Outgoing Port Manager Don Mann said that the Army Corps of Engineers, upon learning that the port would need deeper dredging to accommodate larger ships used by Teevin, decided to reopen the dredging request permit and to require a new biological assessment of what the deeper dredging would do to the bay’s ecology. A new assessment and resulting permit process could take, said Mann, as long as to the middle of March – well outside the annual state allowances of “in water” working. Oregon state law says any heavy construction or environmental intrusion into the waters of Oregon are limited to mid-November through mid-February, in order to avoid any disruption to spawning salmon. Due to the delayed permitting process, dredging would not be allowed to even begin until mid-November of next year, thereby delaying Teevin Brothers log exporting operations until possibly December – a two month delay.
Port President JoAnn Barton asked Mann if it was possible to get an extension of the “in water” period for the project. Mann said it’s quite possible pointing to the fact that the port has won such extensions in the past and that it could happen again. Mann suggested that everyone concerned should contact Oregon’s Congressional delegation and express to them the importance of the Corps of Engineers to allow dredging for the port past the normal mid-February cut off for “in water” work.