The state agency examining the impacts of what would be the nation’s largest rail-to-marine oil transfer terminal in Vancouver says it won’t broaden its analysis in the face of new contract details showing the facility could be expanded or that a second one could be built in the future.
The state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council said it doesn’t need to widen its analysis of the facility proposed by Tesoro Corp. and Savage Cos. at the Port of Vancouver in response to Kristen Boyles, an attorney for Earthjustice who had requested the expanded review.
That’s because the companies haven’t changed their permit application, submitted more than two years ago, to seek “an increased capacity, expanded or new facility,” according to Stephen Posner, manager for the evaluation council. To date, he said, the analysis of the proposed oil terminal, including development of a draft environmental impact statement, is “based on a maximum capacity to receive an average of 360,000 barrels per day.”
Boyles had raised concerns in light of recently disclosed information revealed by the port in its lease with Tesoro, a petroleum refiner, and Savage, a transportation company. The new details include that the companies have the ability to expand or build a second oil-by-rail facility if they handle more than an average of 400,000 barrels of crude per day with the first terminal. The port had previously concealed the 400,000 figure from the public but divulged it and other details on Aug. 6 as part of a settlement of a lawsuit against it.
In her Aug. 18 letter to the evaluation council, Boyles requested the agency make sure its impact study “is based on the proposed facility’s actual maximum capacity under its physical and operational design (which is apparently more than 400,000 barrels per day), rather than any anticipated operational limit.”