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A panel has rejected a project for the construction of an oil terminal at the port of Vancouver in the state of Washington on the grounds that the companies behind the project had failed to convince them that the site was acceptable.
The panel’s chairwoman told media the members of the Energy Facility Evaluation Council had gone through more than a quarter of a million public comments on the proposed terminal, including notable opponents to the project such as environmental groups, tribes, and municipalities from the area.
The project was conceived by Tesoro Corp. and Savage Cos. as a storage hub for oil transported by rail from North Dakota to the Washington coast, from where it will be loaded onto vessels that will take it to West Coast refineries. The facility was supposed to have a capacity of 360,000 bpd of crude.
The opponents of the project argued that all the benefits from the site will be reaped by California, and in the future by foreign markets, while all the risks will be reaped by local communities. Among these risks, according to an environmental study released last week, are spills, train accidents, and longer emergency response times caused by increased road traffic. Also, the study identified as risk potentially negative consequences for low-income communities and even the risk of an earthquake that could cause an oil spill in the port.
Related: U.S. Oil Has One Fatal Weakness
According to Tesoro and Savage, which set up a joint venture, Vancouver Energy, for the project, said they were extremely disappointed with the decision of the panel, with a spokesman saying that the panel "has set an impossible standard for new energy facilities based on the risk of incidents that the Final Environmental Impact Statement characterizes as extremely unlikely."
The final decision is in the hands of Governor Jay Inslee, and chances are against Vancouver Energy. This is the latest example of the major opposition new oil and gas infrastructure projects are running into on a regular basis in both the U.S. and Canada.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.