A Seattle environmental research group issued a report Monday showing that nearly a dozen plans have emerged to haul crude oil by rail to refineries and port terminals in the Pacific Northwest.
“Moving large quantities of oil by rail would be a major change for the Northwest’s energy economy, but so far the proposals have largely escaped notice,” according to Sightline Institute, a nonprofit that focuses on sustainability issues.
In the report, The Northwest’s Pipeline on Rails, (http://www.sightline.org/research/the-northwests-pipeline-on-rails) by Eric de Place, the group’s policy director, the nonprofit says 11 refineries and port terminals are planning, building or already operating oil-by-rail shipments in Washington and Oregon. That includes a proposal by Tesoro Corp. and Savage Companies to build a crude-oil transfer terminal at the Port of Vancouver.
Sightline says that terminal, capable of handling as much as 380,000 barrels of oil per day, would be “by far the (Pacific Northwest) region’s largest facility.” The port’s Board of Commissioners on Thursday will convene two back-to-back public workshops centered on it. The first one will focus on the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, which will review the proposed crude oil facility and make a recommendation to Gov. Jay Inslee, who has the final say.
The second workshop will feature a presentation by Tesoro and Savage.
Since April, when the companies announced a joint venture to build a crude-oil facility in Vancouver, port commissioners have already held two workshops addressing the proposal, including the handling of hazardous material over water and by rail.