The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recommended a key permit for construction of the nation’s largest oil-by-rail terminal on the Columbia River in Vancouver be withheld until certain risks are assessed. Apparently, construction “plans for the terminal do not comply with the federal Clean Water Act.” The National Park Service cited similar concerns in a recent letter.
Tesoro Corp. and Savage Cos. are the companies behind the terminal. The terminal would handle an average of 360,000 barrels of crude oil per day. Oil would arrive by rail and leave by ship.
Environmentalists opposed to the oil terminal have called recommendation to withhold the permit a “game-changer.” But, the companies have expressed confidence that any problems can be addressed. The Seattle Times,
“The companies plan to address the concerns during an ongoing state review of the project, said Tesoro spokeswoman Jennifer Minx.
“‘We are confident that the proposed terminal can be designed, constructed and operated in a safe and environmentally responsible manner,’ Minx said in an email.”
The state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council is currently reviewing the project. Jay Inslee has the final say in whether or not it will receive the necessary permit. However, as the Seattle Times points out, “other jurisdictions — including the Corps of Engineers — that must issue permits along the way for the terminal to be built.”
It wasn’t too long ago that Inslee was caught in an awkward lie having to do with the project. According to emails acquired via public records request, the Inslee administration had been working for months to facilitate the new oil refinery. The problem is, Inslee denied knowing anything about the project… before news of the emails broke. Presumably, Inslee’s denials were due to the fact that an oil refinery does not exactly mesh with the extreme “green” image he has established.
Whether or not Inslee being caught in an embarrassing lie will impact the future of the project has yet to be seen.