Category Archives: Tar sands crude

Please attend the Bay Area Air District meeting this Monday, April 9

Repost from Sunflower Alliance

No Tar Sands in the Bay!  …April 9 meeting of the BAAQMD

Come show your opposition to the expansion of the Phillips 66 Rodeo refinery!

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) is considering Phillips 66’s application for a permit to more than double the number of tankers coming into their marine terminal. 

WHEN
Monday, April 9, 8:30 AM to 12 PM

WHERE
BAAQMD headquarters
375 Beale St.,
San Francisco

RSVP

Since Phillips 66 owns a big tar-sands mining operation in Alberta, we can assume the tankers will be bringing tar sands oil.

First Nations in Canada have been battling the planned tripling of the pipeline that brings tar sands oil from Alberta through their lands to the West Coast, where it can be shipped to refineries in California.

Phillips 66 has denied that expanding the wharf will mean increasing production at the refinery.   However, bringing in the additional amount of oil enabled by the wharf expansion plus the amount currently carried by the pipeline from the P66 sister refinery in Santa Maria equals a 15% increase in capacity.

Expanding production would mean emitting more greenhouse gases and health-harming pollution into neighboring communities.  In addition, increasing the amount of oil coming through the Bay in tankers will increase the risk of  oil spills, like the one at Phillips 66 last September, which sent a plume of toxic air to Vallejo.  But it’s worse — because tar sands crude oil is so heavy and thick it can’t be cleaned up once it’s spilled.  It would just sink to the bottom of the Bay and stay there, contaminating the water, plants, and wildlife.

Now BAAQMD has created an “ad hoc committee” on refineries, which plans to discuss these issues at its next meeting.  Come tell BAAQMD: No tar sands in the Bay!  No new fossil fuel projects!  No Phillips 66 expansion!  And stand with First Nations people in Canada fighting for their land.

WHEN

Monday, April 9, 8:30 AM to 12 PM

WHERE

BAAQMD headquarters
375 Beale St.,
San Francisco

RSVP

Hosted by Idle No More SF Bay and Indigenous Women of the Americas Defending Mother Earth Treaty

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Bay Area refineries want to do what?

Repost from a STAND.earth email
From: Matt Krogh, Extreme Oil Director, STAND.earth 
Sent: Monday, April 2, 2018 8:00 AM

Phillips 66 wants more tar sands tankers in the Bay

Dear …

We love San Francisco Bay just like you do, so when Big Oil comes up with yet another project that threatens our air and our water, we know it’s time to act. Next Monday April 9th, Bay Area refinery regulators will be meeting to discuss next steps on permitting expanded tar sands refining in the Bay–and now is your chance to let them know how you feel.

Phillips 66 and other Bay Area refineries are working hard to find new ways to access cheap, dirty tar sands crudes from Alberta–that’s why they’ve pushed for oil train offloading facilities, and that’s why they’re now trying to bring in a vast increase in tar sands tankers. But California’s regulators can say no to more tar sand projects in the Bay.

TAKE ACTION NOW

Increasing tar sands production is bad for Indigenous communities at the source in Alberta; transporting it threatens devastating oil spills in the waters of British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and California; and refining it means more air, water, and climate pollution right here in San Francisco Bay. The life cycle of tar sands production is destructive to our health and the safety of our communities.

Please join us and sign the petition to encourage California’s regulators to say no to more tar sands.

Right now, people like you all around the Bay are working to reduce our dependence on oil and build the clean energy economy. More, dirtier crude just isn’t what the Bay needs. 

Big Oil first proposed bringing tar sands by oil trains–and together we beat them back in Pittsburg, San Luis Obispo, and Benicia. With your support, we can continue the momentum and beat Big Oil once again, this time by keeping more tar sands tankers out of San Francisco Bay.

Help pile on the pressure and tell California regulators to reject Phillips 66’s tar sands expansion proposal, and to stand with us against any new tar sands projects that threaten our water and air.

In solidarity,

Matt Krogh
Extreme Oil Director


Stand challenges corporations, industries, and governments to prioritize the well-being of people, our environment, and our climate by creating long-term, effective solutions. None of this work is possible without your support.
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Washington Agency Votes to Reject Massive Oil-by-Rail Terminal

Repost from DeSmogBlog

Washington Agency Votes to Reject Vancouver Energy’s Massive Oil-by-Rail Terminal

By Justin Mikulka • Wednesday, November 29, 2017 – 10:29
Portland, Oregon, bridge with banner reading 'Coal oil gas none shall pass'
Portland, Oregon, bridge with banner reading ‘Coal oil gas none shall pass’

In another major blow to the West Coast oil-by-rail industry, a Washington state agency voted unanimously to recommend Governor Jay Inslee reject the Vancouver Energy oil terminal. Proposed for construction in Vancouver, Washington, along the Columbia River, it would be the largest oil-by-rail facility in the country.

Washington State’s Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) has been reviewing the project since 2013 — reportedly the longest review period ever for the council. However, its November 28 meeting and vote on the final recommendation for the Tesoro Savage–backed project only took 10 minutes.

Given the reality of climate change, there is simply no reason to build new fossil fuel infrastructure, especially for the export of extreme oil,” said Matt Krogh of activist group Stand, one of many groups opposing the Vancouver Energy project. “The entire reason behind this proposal was to move crude oil from the middle of North America to overseas markets. Simply put, this oil is not for us — and the proposal would leave every single community along the rail lines with all of the risk and none of the reward.”

Vancouver Energy told Oregon Public Broadcasting that the council has “set an impossible standard” for new energy facilities in Washington.

Proposed by Tesoro Savage Petroleum Terminal LLC (also known as Vancouver Energy), the facility is designed to handle 360,000 barrels of oil per day. Expectations are that the facility would receive both the highly volatile light Bakken oil as well as Canadian tar sands oil, with much of it traveling through the Columbia River Gorge. In 2016 an oil train derailed and caught fire in Mosier, Oregon, with some of the oil ending up in the Columbia River, which has already been suffering major declines of its once-historic salmon populations.

Map of proposed Vancouver Energy oil by rail terminal on the Columbia River
A map of the proposed facility from its Final Environmental Impact Statement. Credit: Tesoro Savage Vancouver Energy Distribution Terminal Facility

Despite lower oil prices, U.S. imports of Canadian tar sands oil reached record levels in 2017 and are currently at 3.3 million barrels per day. More of that oil has been moving by rail recently, and as overall tar sands production continues to rise, industry observers predict large potential increases in shipping more of it by rail over the next several years.

Rich Kruger, CEO of tar sands producer Imperial (the Canadian affiliate of ExxonMobil), recently commented on how rail was becoming more attractive as a way to get oil to America.

Rail is increasingly competitive,” Kruger told Bloomberg. “There are times when we look at the pipeline alternative, [but] the variable cost aspect of rail is a more attractive means for us to get to the mid-Western or Gulf coast markets.”

West Coast Oil-by-Rail Plans

Should Washington Governor Inslee, who has 60 days to make a final decision, follow the recommendation to reject the Vancouver Energy oil terminal, it would throw a major wrench in oil industry plans for Canadian tar sands and Bakken oil in the West. As DeSmog reported in June, oil-by-rail remains part of the industry’s long-term plans to get oil to West Coast refineries.

If Governor Inslee stops this project, it will join the growing list of oil terminals in the West rejected after intense local opposition. Earlier this month a California court ruled that an oil refinery and rail project in Bakersfield could not proceed because its environmental review was inadequate.

Earlier this year the Washington Supreme Court voted unanimously to deny an oil-by-rail project in Grays Harbor because that project lacked a comprehensive environmental review that considered the Ocean Resources Management Act.

Also in 2017, a proposed Phillips 66 oil-by-rail project in California was voted down by the San Luis Obispo County planning commission. In 2016 the city council in Benicia, California, voted unanimously to reject Valero’s proposed oil-by-rail project.

Growing awareness of the risks of oil train terminals has led many communities where they are proposed to back away from such projects.

Local Election Was Proxy Vote on Vancouver Oil Terminal

Because Vancouver Energy’s proposed oil-by-rail facility is sited in the Port of Vancouver, a recent electoral race for one of the port commission’s three seats became a proxy fight over the oil terminal.

The race was between Don Orange, owner of a local auto repair shop and opponent of the oil-by-rail project, and Kris Greene, an insurance agent who was backed by large amounts of money from oil and rail corporations. Oregon Public Broadcasting reported Greene raised “nearly $600,000, with 87 percent coming from Vancouver Energy and backers of the project” and also received support from a PAC, funded in part by rail company BNSF and Tesoro, which spent $160,000.

However, Orange also raised close to $400,000, with considerable support coming from the Washington Conservation Voters Action Fund.

Orange thought there was little question why so much money was pouring into a local election for a seat on a commission that pays around $10,000 a year.

This is a choice of what our economy should look like,” said Orange. “It is a choice of having a vibrant small business economy or becoming a big oil town.”

The election’s results showed how the majority of the community felt about the oil-by-rail project: despite being outspent by Greene, Orange won over 64 percent of the vote.

Current port commissioner Eric LaBrant was shocked by the results, saying, “I’ve never seen anything like this in local politics … This election shows where the community wants to go and what kind of business the community wants to have there at the port.”

Still, the final decision on the oil terminal lies with the governor, and even then, the door remains open for either side to take legal action.

Main image: People’s Climate March PDX Credit: David SierralupeCC BY 2.0

 

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