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Environmental Review Out on Vancouver Oil-by-Rail Project

November 24, 2015

Washington State has released a detailed environmental assessment of a proposed oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver.

The draft report was released Tuesday by the state’s Energy Site Evaluation Council. It considers the oil-by-rail project’s possible impacts to things like environmental health, noise, and emergency preparedness in the event of an oil spill or explosion.

Opponents say they are confident the report will lead to the project’s rejection by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

“It provides all the information all the information Gov. Inslee needs to deny the project,” said Brett VandenHeuvel, executive director of the environmental nonprofit Columbia Riverkeeper. “It paints a picture of the severe impacts to the project.”

READ: Vancouver Oil Terminal Sparks Controversy, Concern

The terminal is a joint venture backed by Tesoro Corporation, an oil company, and Savage Industries, a logistics firm.

The joint venture issued a statement saying the report’s release means the permitting process would be able to move forward to the next steps.

“This is an important milestone for the project,” the statement said. “We are currently reviewing the document and will be able to address specific issues and respond to more detailed questions over the coming weeks.  

The public will have until Jan. 8, 2016 to comment.

The state’s Energy Site Evaluation Council is also scheduled to hold two public hearings on the oil terminal. A 10-hour hearing is scheduled for Jan. 5, 2016, at the Clark County Event Center in Ridgefield. Another is scheduled for Jan. 7, 2016, in Spokane.

If built, the project would be the largest oil terminal of its kind in the country. It could move 360,000 barrels of oil daily by train and offload at the terminal. From there, the oil would be transferred onto ships and sent to West Coast refineries.

 

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In response to protests and a lawsuit, the Port of Vancouver Commission re-voted on a controversial oil terminal lease.

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