Vancouver USA oil-rail project halted

Port of Vancouver USA Vancouver Energy’s proposed facility (highlighted in blue) at the Port of Vancouver USA consists of a covered transload area on the railroad tracks at Terminal 5, six storage tanks to the east and a loading area at two of the port’s cargo berths
Industry Database

Plans for a crude oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver USA may be scrapped following license restrictions.

Commissioners at the Vancouver, Washington-based port voted that Vancouver Energy’s controversial project must receive the necessary licenses, permits and approvals required to operate by 31 March, or the lease for a 42-acre crude oil distribution facility, to include a rail unloading facility, storage tanks and a vessel loading area, will be terminated.

“It’s gratifying to have our commission be united in its vision for the future of the port and community,” said Port of Vancouver USA Commission president Eric LaBrant.

Awaiting final decision

Governor of Washington Jay Inslee still needs to make a final decision on the project and Mr LaBrant added: “We still await the Governor’s decision on the project and we continue to be focused on supporting businesses, growing jobs and providing benefit to our community.”

The project, which has been opposed by environmental groups, would bring up to 360,000 barrels of North American crude oil by rail to the port daily, where it would then be loaded into vessels for shipment to refineries in Alaska, California and Washington. The terminal would receive up to four trains per day.

The 15-year expected lifespan project was anticipated to bring jobs and economic benefits to the area, however the Stand Up To Oil campaign, run by a coalition of groups, has expressed concern over environmental risks, rail safety and the use of fossil fuels.

Impact report

In November, Vancouver Energy, a joint venture of Tesoro Corp. and Savage Companies, said on its website that the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) released by the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) concluded that the “construction and normal operations of the proposed Vancouver Energy terminal at the Port of Vancouver USA will not result in any significant unavoidable impacts to the environment or community that can’t be mitigated.”

It said the FEIS found no significant cumulative impacts to earth resources, air quality, water resources, terrestrial vegetation, terrestrial wildlife, land and shoreline use, visual resources, recreation, cultural resources, transportation, or tribal treaty rights. The company added that the FEIS identified no significant cumulative impacts to aquatic species or noise if mitigation specified by EFSEC is implemented.

The previous month it stated that the terminal, by facilitating the use of lower carbon crude oil, will enable a potential reduction in emissions equal to removing 250,000 cars from US roads.

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