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Washington State’s Oil-By-Rail Project Denied By Governor

A proposed oil-by-rail terminal along the Columbia river was denied a permit by Washington Governor Jay Inslee, according to a new report by the Statesman Journal.

A state energy panel had voted to deny Vancouver Energy’s application back in November. Inslee concurred with the results of the vote, according to a statement published by the governor’s office.

Vancouver Energy is a joint venture funded by Tesoro Corp. and Savage Companies. It plans to build a terminal for the reception of 360,000 barrels per day of crude from Vancouver. Tankers would bring over the oil for processing in refineries along the West Coast.

Inslee said that existing information about the project did not meet “a broad public interest standard” required for panel approval. Tesoro and Savage have a month to appeal the governor’s decision in court.

The companies have said they were extremely disappointed with the decision of the panel back in November, with a spokesman saying that the commission "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."

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, were logged when the panel was considering the permit. 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. These risks include spills, train accidents, and longer emergency response times caused by increased road traffic. Also, the study identified as a risk the potentially negative consequences for low-income communities and even the risk of an earthquake that could cause an oil spill in the port.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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  • Bill Simpson on January 30 2018 said:
    I thought Trump would order any oil projects built? What happened here?
    Louisiana just approved a big new pipeline right through an enormous swamp. People there are smart enough to know that without enough oil, the economy would collapse. And we would all starve, after the banking system melted down and everything shut down. Don't laugh, it came within about a week of happening in 2008. And it is so hot in Louisiana for 6 months of the year that bacteria will eat any spilled oil within weeks.

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