Tesoro-Savage proposal opponents prep for fight at port

Commissioners to meet Monday, Tuesday on plan

By Aaron Corvin, Columbian port & economy reporter

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As the Port of Vancouver prepares next week to take action on a proposed oil-handling operation, opponents of what would be the largest such facility in the Pacific Northwest are rolling out new efforts to defeat it.

The national group Climate Parents said Friday that local members will attend a port commission meeting Monday to present commissioners a petition with 12,500 signatures demanding they reject the oil-by-train proposal by Tesoro Corp. and Savage Companies.

"Climate change and dirty air threaten my daughter's health and future, and I will fight to make sure this project does not come to pass," Caleb Connolly, a Vancouver resident and Climate Parents member, said in a news release.

Meanwhile, Columbia Riverkeeper said Friday a vigil will be held before Monday's commission meeting. The vigil will honor the victims of the fiery oil train derailment in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. The July 6 calamity vaporized a large swath of the downtown, killed 50 people, forced the evacuation of 2,000 and prompted investigations.

Commissioners will discuss the elements of a possible lease with Tesoro and Savage during a workshop to be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday

at 3103 N.W. Lower River Road. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Commissioners are slated to act on a proposed lease during their regular public meeting beginning at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the same location.

Tesoro and Savage say their proposal, which would bring oil by train from North Dakota's Bakken shale formation, will generate an estimated 250 temporary construction jobs and up to 120 full-time positions, most of them hired locally. The oil facility would be designed to handle as much as 380,000 barrels of crude per day. The oil would arrive by train, be stored and later transferred to ships and barges for shipment to U.S. refineries.

In addition to requiring a lease deal from port commissioners, the companies' proposal would have to clear an examination by the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, which would make a recommendation to Gov. Jay Inslee, who has the final say.

Aaron Corvin: http://twitter.com/col_econ; http://on.fb.me/AaronCorvin; 360-735-4518; aaron.corvin@columbian.com