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News / Business / Clark County Business

Oil terminal hearings open today in Vancouver

Five-week trial-like process envisioned

By Dameon Pesanti, Columbian staff writer
Published: June 27, 2016, 8:36am
Five weeks of judicial-style hearings over plans to build an oil terminal  at the Port of Vancouver opened this morning.
The day started with a protest involving about 100 red-clad opponents of Vancouver Energy’s plans to build the nation’s largest oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver.
Held at the Clark College Conference Center in east Vancouver, lawyers for Tesoro Corp. and Savage Cos. and the Port of Vancouver are presenting overviews of their case for the terminal to an administrative law judge.
They will tout the project’s capital investment, new jobs and potential to make the U.S. less dependent on foreign oil.
The opponents and the counsel for the environment are arguing why the terminal, which could handle up to 360,000 barrels of oil per day, shouldn’t be approved. They will cite public safety concerns, possible environmental damage, and the project’s role in furthering U.S. dependence on fossil fuels in the face of global warming.
The room was packed with observers this morning, all of whom were subject to passing through a metal detector and submitting to searches of handbags.
The hearing are scheduled to last five weeks, Mondays through Thursdays. After this Thursday, the venue switches to Olympia for three weeks before concluding here the week of July 25.
The case record will remain open through Aug. 31 for parties to submit extra evidence and testimony because Vancouver Energy filed a significantly amended application on the last allowable day, 30 days before the hearing.
By that time the project will be in its fourth year of review.
The administrative law judge’s opinion and the massive environmental impact statement are intended to guide the decision on the oil terminal.
The state Energy Facilities Site Evaluation Council’s recommendation and the governor’s final decision aren’t expected until early next year.
Columbian reporter Dameon Pesanti is at the hearing today, and you can follow the action on Twitter.
Columbian staff writer