Port of GH and QIN reach agreement allowing for T4 project to move forward

The Port of Grays Harbor announced that they have reached an agreement with the Quinault Indian Nation regarding treaty rights and the planned Terminal 4 expansion.

In an announcement, the port says that they have authorized the Executive Director to finalize and execute an agreement relating to the Quinault Indian Nation’s treaty rights as a component of the Port’s Terminal 4 Expansion & Redevelopment Project.

The port says that this marks the first of its kind agreement between the Port and the Nation who have been discussing the project and framing the agreement for more than two years.  

The port tells KXRO that the agreement recognizes the impacts the project will have on the Nation’s access and ability to fish, hunt, and gather in their usual and accustomed area.  The agreement also identifies the mutually beneficial economic benefits of ocean access and Port operations to the community.

The agreement includes a cash payment for in-river construction interference with Tribal fishing and the establishment of funding for a Tribal non-profit organization that will focus on studies and projects to address climate concerns and project-related impacts on fish and habitat.  

It also includes the creation of a damaged gear fund, lost fishing opportunity fund, property lease extensions at Westport, and improvements to safety and communication in the Grays Harbor Navigation Channel.

The Terminal 4 Expansion & Redevelopment project includes a $170 million private investment by AGP to construct a second soymeal export facility at the Port’s Terminal 4B.  The Port will invest $60 million in infrastructure to support AGP’s project by constructing 40,000 feet of additional rail within its Marine Terminal Complex, a new fendering system and a stormwater collection and treatment facility at T4 and create more than 30-acres of additional cargo laydown area to support future operations at Terminal 4A.  The Port’s investment is supported by the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration through a $25.5 million grant, along with capital budget investment by the State of Washington.

“This Agreement truly is history in the making,” stated Port of Grays Harbor Commission President Phil Papac.  “We all rely upon our Harbor for our livelihoods, and it is in everyone’s best interest for the Port to work closely with the Nation to ensure our mutual benefit as we both work to increase opportunities for our citizens.  The Port fully recognizes Quinault Indian Nation’s fishing rights, and this Agreement provides the framework to address potential impacts while ensuring the safety of our tribal fishers and our shipping customers.”   

“The Nation is such an important partner in our community, and I am thankful for the opportunity to work together on this significant milestone,” expressed Port Executive Director Leonard Barnes.  “As we continue to serve our customers from Westport to the Marine Terminals, including our tribal fishers and businesses, a spirit of mutually beneficial cooperation will provide the framework for future growth and success.”

With this agreement, the Port and AGP are one step closer to kicking off construction of the T4 Expansion Project. 

The project is on track for final permitting to be complete this summer, which will be followed by AGP breaking ground on the new T4B export facility and the Port soliciting bids for construction of the public infrastructure upgrades. Construction is anticipated to take several years, with the new export facility targeted for operations beginning in 2026. 

Once constructed, the improvements will support the creation of over 80 long-term jobs in Grays Harbor.