Category Archives: Tesoro Savage Vancouver Oil Terminal

PROTESTS AFTER MOSIER: Criminal charges dismissed, protesters speak out

Repost from Hood River News

Another voice: ‘The greenest corner in the richest nation on earth’

By Robin Cody, August 19, 2016
A group of protesters block an oil train in Vancouver, Wash., on Sunday. Photo from Inside Climate News, courtesy of Alex Milan Tracy

The fiery wreck of an oil train at Mosier is what galvanized many of us to sit on the Burlington Northern railroad tracks in downtown Vancouver on June 18. Twenty-one protesters, ranging in age from 20 to 84, were repeatedly warned of 90 days’ jail time and $1,000 fines for criminal trespassing. And still, we sat.

Protesters got arrested and briefly jailed. Our legal status remained in limbo until recently, when criminal charges were dismissed.

Now we can talk.

The whole idea — of fracking North Dakota and shipping flammable crude oil by rail through the Columbia River Gorge — is not just a threat to people who live near the tracks. It’s also a violation of nature. It’s a big wrong turn in America’s supposed transition from fossil fuels to renewables.

It’s 2016. About climate change and its causes, the evidence is in. Time is running out. Yet many more tanker loads of climate change could come barreling through the Gorge. The proposed Tesoro Savage Vancouver Energy Project would be the largest oil-by-rail terminal in the Northwest. It would more than double the daily frequency of mile-long oil trains to the Port of Vancouver.

If civil disobedience does any good, it’s in the context of many other groups and individuals speaking out. There were rallies in Hood River and Astoria, tribal action in Mosier, and the alarm expressed by city councils of Vancouver and Portland and Spokane. Columbia Riverkeepers, 350pdx, and many other organizations put the spotlight on industries that contribute to, and profit from, America’s dependence on fossil fuels.

This is about where we live. It would be fundamentally unlike us Cascadians, of all people, to cooperate with big oil’s distant profit.

The world expects the United States to take the lead with climate action. The U.S. looks to California and the Northwest. So here we are, in the greenest corner of the richest nation on Earth. If we don’t step up for the planet, where in the world will momentum take hold? And when we do take a stand, it might really make a difference.

Robin Cody of Portland is the author of “Ricochet River” and “Voyage of a Summer Sun.”
 
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Washington State Department of Natural Resources cites wildfire risk to halt oil train plans

Repost from Fire Chief Magazine

Washington agency cites wildland fire risk to halt oil train plans

City of Vancouver also opposes oil transfer terminal
By Phuong Le, The Associated Press, June 30, 2016

SEATTLE — A Washington state agency in charge of protecting millions of acres of state land from wildfires is opposing a proposal to build an oil-by-rail terminal in Vancouver, citing risks of blazes from increased train traffic and other concerns.

The Department of Natural Resources urged a state energy panel to recommend that the project be rejected, according to a brief filed ahead of hearings that begin Monday.

The city of Vancouver also filed a brief stating its opposition to the project.

The Department of Natural Resources said that based on the evidence, the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council cannot meet its obligations to assure the public that there are adequate safeguards and that the project will have minimal environmental impacts.

The council, which oversees the siting and permitting of large energy projects, will make a recommendation to Gov. Jay Inslee, who has the final say.

Beginning Monday, the panel will hear testimony from numerous witnesses during trial-like proceedings lasting several weeks.

“We’re all very concerned about the lack of safety and the probability that bad things will happen around derailments or other accidents,” Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark said in an interview Wednesday. “We’re trying to persuade both (the energy council) and the governor that this is not a wise move. It’s not safe.”

In its filing, the Department of Natural Resources said the project would “create an increased risk of wildfire ignition along every mile of track used, both from heat and sparks creased by increased daily rail traffic and from catastrophic accidents.”

It says state firefighting forces aren’t equipped to handle those risks.

Tesoro Corp. and Savage Cos., operating as Vancouver Energy, want to build a rail-to-marine oil transfer terminal along the Columbia River that can handle an average of 360,000 barrels of crude a day. The facility would receive an average of four crude oil trains a day. The oil would temporarily be stored on site and then loaded onto marine vessels for transport to refineries on the West Coast.

Vancouver Energy says the project can be done safely and will provide jobs and tax revenue as well as reduce dependency on foreign oil.

“We live in the community. We work in the community. We play in the community, so it’s obviously important to us to make sure this is done safely and in an environmentally safe way,” Jared Larrabee, general manager for Vancouver Energy, said in an interview last week.

Tribal, environmental and other groups have intervened in the proceedings to oppose the project. They plan to raise concerns about the risk of train derailments, the potential for a catastrophic oil spill into the Columbia River, public health issues, tribal fishing access and toxic pollution.

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