Category Archives: Gov. Jay Inslee

Washington governor nixes Vancouver oil train terminal

Repost from The Oregonian – Oregon  Live / Oregon Business News

Washington governor nixes Vancouver oil train terminal

Updated Jan 29, 5:30 PM; Posted Jan 29, 5:28 PM
By Ted Sickinger, The Oregonian/OregonLive
The Port of Vancouver's rail loop was proposed to serve a 360,000-barrel-a-day oil train terminal under a proposal by Tesoro Corp. and Savage Cos.  (Courtesy of Port of Vancouver)
The Port of Vancouver’s rail loop was proposed to serve a 360,000-barrel-a-day oil train terminal under a proposal by Tesoro Corp. and Savage Cos. (Courtesy of Port of Vancouver) (Port of Vancouver)

Washington’s governor on Monday put a presumed end to a proposed oil-by-rail export terminal at the Port of Vancouver, notifying state regulators that he agreed with their unanimous decision to reject the controversial project.

The state’s Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council voted in November to recommend that Gov. Jay Inslee deny the Tesoro-Savage proposal. In a letter announcing his decision, Inslee said he found ample support in the record for the council’s decision that the project was wrong for the proposed site, including risks posed by a large earthquake, an oil spill or an explosion or fire at the facility.

Inslee said the facility posed potentially catastrophic risks to the public and there was no way to mitigate the impacts that that an oil spill would have on water quality, wetlands, fish and wildlife.

“The Council found that emergency responders are unlikely to be able to successfully respond to a major incident at the facility,” Inslee wrote.

Vancouver Energy, a joint venture of the Tesoro Corp, now known as Andeavor, and Savage Co.s, has 30 days to appeal the governor’s decision in Thurston County Superior Court. A spokesman for Savage said the company would have a statement, but had not issued one yet.

The companies had proposed spending $210 million on a terminal at Port of Vancouver to transfer 360,000 barrels a day of Bakken crude from trains onto marine vessels for shipment to West Coast refineries. Supporters pointed to the jobs and property taxes that would be generated by the facility.

Dan Serres, conservation director for the advocacy group Columbia Riverkeeper, said the proposal attracted unprecedented opposition from a cross-section of businesses, environmental groups and citizens. And while the company could appeal the decision, Serres said they’d be doing so without a lease as the Port of Vancouver has already signaled its intent to seek other options as of March 31.

“The idea of putting five loaded oil trains a day down the Columbia River Gorge was irresponsible, and after Mosier, that became clear,” said Serres, referring to the fiery derailment of an oil train near the town of Mosier in June 2016.  “We’re just overjoyed to see them go away. This one’s over.”

-Ted Sickinger

    Washington Governor Inslee calls for halt to Bakken crude oil trains

    Repost from Progressive Railroading
    [Editor:  Significant quote: “A preliminary report issued last week by the Federal Railroad Administration determined that UP did not adequately inspect tracks in the area and that an electronic braking system would have resulted in fewer derailed cars.”  – RS]

    Washington Gov. Inslee calls on USDOT to step up crude-by-rail oversight

    Progressive Railroading, 6/28/16

    Washington Gov. Jay Inslee met late last week with Federal Railroad Administrator Sarah Feinberg to call for a halt to Bakken crude-oil trains through his state until additional federal safety requirements are in place.

    The meeting was held in the wake of a Bakken crude-oil train derailment in Mosier, Ore., which resulted in a fire that burned for several hours near the Columbia River Gorge. The Union Pacific Railroad train originated in New Town, N.D., and was on its way to Tacoma, Wash., when the derailment occurred.

    A preliminary report issued last week by the Federal Railroad Administration determined that UP did not adequately inspect tracks in the area and that an electronic braking system would have resulted in fewer derailed cars. Sixteen cars derailed in the incident.

    “It is unclear at this point whether the FRA has the authority to order a stop to unsafe oil train transport, but they committed to looking into what they can do and will revisit what can be done to halt UP’s Bakken oil train transport until necessary safety improvements are made,” said Inslee in a prepared statement.

    Inslee also made a separate request to UP to halt all oil train shipments through Washington until the Class I improves its track inspection protocols.

    In the past, the governor has criticized the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) for not going far enough to strengthen federal oversight of crude-by-rail shipment.

    “Action at the federal level is imperative. Slower train speeds, faster phase-out of older tank cars and electronic braking systems are real actions that can prevent potentially devastating accidents,” Inslee said. “I made clear to Feinberg that federal regulators need to act on these things immediately.”