Under the Tesoro-Savage proposal, oil would be hauled to the Port of Vancouver by train from North Dakota’s Bakken shale formation. The oil would be stored at the port and transferred to ships headed to U.S. refineries for conversion into transportation fuels. Savage, a supply-chain management company, and Tesoro, the West Coast’s largest refiner, say the terminal could handle 380,000 barrels of crude per day.
The Port of Vancouver commission unanimously approved a lease with Tesoro and Savage in late July. It held a second public hearing and vote on Oct. 22 in response to alleged violations of state public meetings law. The lease involves 42 acres and is worth at least $45 million to the port over an initial 10 years.
o The companies and the port say the project will generate about 250 temporary construction jobs and 120 full-time jobs, significantly boost local and state tax revenues, and help support U.S. energy independence and fill the gas tanks of consumers. The port says the deal would enable it to re-invest $30 million in further industrial development and to create a ripple effect of 2,700 direct and indirect jobs.
o Critics raise numerous concerns, including the potential for oil spills on the Columbia River, new sources of toxic air pollution, the safety of hauling more oil by rail in light of recent wrecks, including July’s deadly oil train derailment and explosion in Canada, potential detrimental impacts on Vancouver’s $1.3 billion waterfront redevelopment plans and the worsening of global warming through continued fossil-fuel consumption.
The Washington state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council will examine the proposal for at least a year before making a recommendation to Gov. Jay Inslee, who has the final say. The EFSEC’s “scoping” period to determine what will be evaluated in an environmental impact statement began Oct. 3 and ends at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 18.