Inslee rejects Vancouver oil terminal

Washington Governor Jay Inslee on Jan. 29 rejected a proposed oil shipping terminal at the Port of Vancouver. The Tesoro Savage project (also known as Vancouver Energy) would have been the largest oil terminal in North America, shipping over 131 million barrels of oil per year down the Columbia River. The $210 million terminal was endorsed by state building trades councils in Washington and Oregon. The trades had signed a letter of understanding for the terminal to be built with 100 percent union labor. It was projected to generate more than 320 full-time jobs during construction.

Inslee said the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, which earlier denied Tesoro the necessary permits to build the facility “has determined that it is not possible to adequately mitigate the risks, or eliminate the adverse impacts of the facility, to an acceptable level. “When weighing all of the factors considered against the need for and potential benefits of the facility at this location, I believe the record reflects substantial evidence that the project does not meet the broad public interest standard necessary for the Council to recommend site certification.”

In its report, the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council cited unavoidable catastrophic risks from earthquakes, oil spills in the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean, and the threat of fire or explosion at the facility.

In the November 2017 election, voters elected a new commissioner to the Port of Vancouver who opposed the oil terminal. One of the commission’s first acts in 2018 was to cancel the Port’s lease with Vancouver Energy.

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