Commissioners for the Port of Vancouver have again approved a lease with 2 companies seeking to build a terminal to receive crude oil shipments by train. Tesoro Corp. and Savage Companies want to build a $110 million oil-by-rail terminal to handle up to 380,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
The commission approved the lease in July. It took up the issue again Tuesday after environmental groups sued, accusing the commission of violating the state's open public meetings law. The Columbian reports the lease unanimously approved by commissioners is the same one adopted in July. The companies say the project will generate jobs and boost tax revenues, while critics raise concerns, including potential oil spills on the Columbia River. A state agency will review the proposal for a year or more and make a recommendation to Gov. Jay Inslee, who has the final say.
Outside Money, Coal Shapes Whatcom Co. Races
Outside money is pouring into local elections in Whatcom County and may influence whether the area becomes home to the largest coal shipping terminal on the West Coast. A $600 million Gateway Pacific Terminal project proposed outside Bellingham could export as much as 48 million tons of coal from Montana and Wyoming to Asia. An environmental political action committee has independently spent $224,000 to back candidates they believe oppose the project. Meanwhile, coal interests have given more than $100,000 to a local conservative political committee backing candidates they believe favor the project. Four of the seven seats on the Whatcom County Council are up for grabs in the Nov. 5 election. The council will decide whether to approve permits for the coal-export terminal, but the project also requires permits from the state and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
October 22, 2013/AP