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Longview Energy Project Backers Expand Proposal

September 10, 2015

Waterside Energy announced Wednesday plans to expand its proposed energy project in the Columbia River town of Longview, Washington.
In addition to a crude oil refinery, the company now wants to build a $450 million transload facility for liquid propane and butane gas, also known as LPG for liquified petroleum gas.
One unit train – about 115 tank cars long – would arrive from Canada at the facility every day, Waterside Energy CEO Lou Soumas said.
“Then loading it on gas carrier to go to the Asian markets,” he said. “The customer base is export.”
Waterside Energy has already proposed building a crude oil and biofuel refinery in Longview. It would refine 45,000 barrels of biofuel and crude oil per day.
About 10 unit trains per month would bring crude oil from the Bakken region of North Dakota. The refinery project is targeting the Portland metro area, in part seeking to capitalize on recently established clean fuels requirements.
“So the refinery products are 100 percent local, domestic consumption and the LPG project is all for export,” Soumas said.
Together the projects will costs $1.25 billion and create about 180 jobs after construction, he said.
Until recently, the refinery was going to be built at least partially on land leased from the Port of Longview. But Soumas said the company was able to purchase land and is working to acquire more, meaning both projects would be built on private land.
“My impression of the initial community reaction was fairly positive,” Soumas said.
Not everyone is on board.
“We remain incredibly concerned about the unit trains of explosive crude oil and LPG gas and the threat of explosions or even toxic emissions within Longview’s city limits,” said Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky, senior organizer with the nonprofit environmental group Columbia Riverkeeper.
Both the refinery and the LPG terminal would need to go through the state’s energy project permitting process.
Soumas said if approved the projects could be operational in late 2018 or early 2019.

OPB/EarthFix reporter Tony Schick contributed to this report.

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Tank cars carrying petroleum crude oil are stationed at BNSF Railway's Willbridge Yard in Northwest Portland. The train come into Portland through the Columbia River Gorge, headed for a terminal in Clatskanie, Oregon.

Tony Schick