Port of Vancouver Approves Biggest Oil-Train Project In NW

Jul 23, 2013

The Port of Vancouver Commission voted unanimously to approve a lease for a controversial oil terminal. Two companies have proposed building a terminal at the port that could one day move up to 380,000 barrels of crude oil a day from trains to ships on the Columbia River.

The proposed terminal at the Port of Vancouver could move up to 380,000 gallons of crude oil a day from trains to ships on the Columbia River.
Credit Port of Vancouver USA

Commissioners heard from dozens of project opponents at a workshop Monday night. Many said they were worried about an oil spill and damage to the environment from oil use after it passes through the Port of Vancouver.

Commissioner Brian Wolfe says he had serious concerns about the safety of the project after a runaway oil train exploded and killed dozens of people in rural Quebec. Then, before the vote, the Tesoro-Savage terminal developers agreed to add safety requirements to its lease with the port. That chat made the difference for Wolfe.

"They can't operate until we approve their safety plan, which will include an emergency response plan," Wolfe says. "That started to turn me around."

Wolfe says the project still needs a state environmental review. It requires approval from the governor's office. That process will take at least a year.

Copyright 2013 Oregon Public Broadcasting