As expected, Gov. Jay Inslee has denied a necessary permit for the Vancouver Energy project. From the governor’s press release,
Gov. Jay Inslee today notified state regulators that he agrees with their unanimous recommendation to reject Tesoro Savage’s application to build a new terminal at the Port of Vancouver.
The decision follows a lengthy evaluation process by the state’s Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, which voted last November to deny the permit and last month submitted its recommendation to the governor.
In his letter to EFSEC, Inslee said several issues compelled his decision including seismic risks, the inability to sufficiently mitigate oil spill risks, and the potential safety risks of a fire or explosion.
We wrote here of the EFSEC recommendation, noting business and labor community support for the project.
In writing of the governor’s decision, the Association of Washington Business points out the project’s economic impact.
The Vancouver Energy project, a joint venture of Tesoro Corp. and Savage Companies, would transfer North American crude oil from trains onto tankers and ships for transport to oil refineries elsewhere on the West Coast, where it could be made into transportation fuels and other petroleum products. The terminal project would provide up to $2 billion and more than 1,000 jobs to the state’s economy.
The Columbian reports on possible next steps.
Vancouver Energy now has 30 days to appeal Inslee’s decision in Thurston County Superior Court.
A spokesman with Vancouver Energy said he expected to release a statement on Monday.
Vancouver Energy said in November that it was extremely disappointed with the panel’s decision and noted that the board “set an impossible standard for new energy facilities based on the risk of incidents that the Final Environmental Impact Statement characterizes as extremely unlikely.”
A prominent opponent of the project told the Columbian he sees a trend, one with significant implications for energy and trade in Washington.
Eric de Place, program director of the Sightline Institute, an environmental think tank in Seattle, said that when the terminal was first proposed in 2013, he thought it could be approved; even a couple of years later, oddsmakers in the oil and gas industry thought it was still viable.
From his perspective, Inslee’s rejection of the Vancouver Energy project speaks volumes about the fate of fossil fuel infrastructure projects proposed in the Pacific Northwest.
“To me, this is not about this oil train terminal, it’s about all the terminals proposed in Washington,” he said. “All the projects that proposed new terminals were all rejected. This is a sign … that the Northwest is extremely hostile to the fossil fuel industry. They can’t (build) here no matter how much money they have.”
Very odd to see that touted as a good thing for a trade-dependent state.