22k Barrel/Day Oil Terminal Proposed in Vancouver, WA to Prepare EIS Outlining Risks



Oct. 6, 2015 (Vancouver, Washington) – NuStar’s crude-by-rail terminal at the Port of Vancouver would have significant negative environmental impacts, according to today’s decision by a City Hearing Examiner. The decision means that the City of Vancouver will prepare a thorough Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) detailing the risks and impacts of NuStar’s crude-by-rail terminal.

Today’s decision is a victory for the City of Vancouver and crude-by-rail opponents. On April 3, 2015, the City announced that it would prepare an EIS on NuStar’s proposal. NuStar appealed that decision, attempting to prevent the City from studying the risks of crude-by-rail. Today, the Hearing Examiner rejected NuStar’s arguments and ordered the City to study the project’s impacts.

“NuStar’s oil terminal invites an Exxon-Valdez type spill from an oil tanker or oil train that would devastate the Columbia River,” stated Brett VandenHeuvel, Executive Director of Columbia Riverkeeper. “The City of Vancouver wisely chose to study the risks of NuStar’s project; we are happy that the Hearing Examiner denied NuStar’s attempt to block that study.”  Columbia Riverkeeper advocated for an EIS and sought to intervene in NuStar’s appeal to defend the City’s decision, but the Hearing Examiner denied that request.

Today’s decision also paves the way for the City to deny NuStar’s entire crude-by-rail proposal. Under Washington’s State Environmental Policy Act, if the EIS reveals impacts and risks that NuStar cannot mitigate, the City can veto the project.

“Crude-by-rail is inherently dangerous, and the City lacks authority to regulate the rail cars that would pass through Vancouver on the way to NuStar’s terminal,” said Don Steinke, a Vancouver resident and environmental advocate. “The only way the City can protect its residents and the Columbia River from the threat of crude by rail is by denying NuStar’s proposal.”

“This decision from Vancouver’s Hearing Examiner is part of a region-wide pattern of communities pushing back against the oil industry’s attempts to fast track projects that would expand oil transport in the Northwest,” said Rebecca Ponzio, director for the Stand Up To Oil campaign. “The dangers from oil trains and oil spills are real and serious – and communities from Vancouver to Skagit County are demanding more time and information to evaluate the risks.”

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About Columbia Riverkeeper
Columbia Riverkeeper’s mission is to protect and restore the water quality of the Columbia River and all life connected to it, from the headwaters to the Pacific Ocean. Representing over 8,000 members and supporters, Columbia Riverkeeper works to restore a Columbia River where people can safely eat the fish they catch and children can swim without fear of toxic pollution. Columbia Riverkeeper is a member of Waterkeeper Alliance, the world’s fastest growing environmental movement, uniting more than 200 Waterkeeper organizations worldwide. For more information, go to columbiariverkeeper.org.

PDF of Press Release "NuStar Loses Appeal: City of Vancouver to Study Oil Terminal Risks," 2015.10.06