Tuesday, August 16, 2022
Aug. 16, 2022

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Crowd expected for Vancouver Energy oil terminal hearing

By , Columbian Business Reporter
Published:

Tuesday is going to be a long day for the Port of Vancouver’s three commissioners as they ask the public to weigh in on a request from oil terminal developer Vancouver Energy.

A big crowd is expected at the public hearing at Clark College’s Gaiser Hall that starts at 9:30 a.m. and could run as late as 9 p.m.

At issue is a cost-saving lease amendment submitted last week by Tesoro Corp. and Savage Cos., the companies behind the proposal for the nation’s largest rail-to-marine oil terminal at the port. With an Aug. 1 permitting deadline looming and the state vetting process stretching into three years, the amendment would give the terminal two more years to get permitted before costs ramp up significantly.

Commissioners are set to vote on the amendment Friday. Rejecting the amendment does not necessarily mean the end of the project, although the port or Vancouver Energy can now exit the lease without penalty. The port was not preparing a counteroffer as of last week.

Doors open at 8 a.m., and the port will conduct its regular meeting before opening the hearing. Speakers on Tuesday will be chosen by lottery; no lottery tickets will be given out after 7 p.m.

Parking will be limited, and carpooling or alternative transportation is encouraged. The port will provide ground rules to “maintain a secure, respectful and civil atmosphere that allows all voices to be heard.”

The terminal would handle 360,000 barrels of crude oil per day. It was first proposed in 2013 and remains mired in the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council process — which by law is only supposed to take a year. In addition to finalizing an environmental impact statement that received a quarter-million comments, the council is holding adjudication hearings this summer. It will eventually send a recommendation to Gov. Jay Inslee, who can decide to deny or approve the project, possibly with conditions.

The governor’s decision is appealable to the state Supreme Court, however, and that could delay the project and the port’s revenues from its locked-up prime real estate for years.

Gaiser Hall is located on the Clark College campus at 1933 Fort Vancouver Way.

Friday’s 1 p.m. meeting at the port’s offices, 3103 N.W. Lower River Road, will not include time for public comment.

The full proposed lease amendment can be found at bit.ly/1SBp7kZ.

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