Big Oil’s time running out at the Port of Vancouver? We hope so.

Clock Ticking On Port Oil Terminal Decision

By Dan Serres, Conservation Director

In 2013, the Port of Vancouver signed a controversial lease agreement with Tesoro and Savage companies to build North America’s largest oil-by-rail terminal. Now, after almost three years and over a dozen catastrophic oil train accidents, the Port of Vancouver must make a new decision about the lease for Tesoro’s proposed oil-by-rail terminal.

The Tesoro Savage project, calling itself “Vancouver Energy,” would be capable of shipping 15 million gallons and four or more trains loaded with volatile crude oil through downtown Vancouver, downtown Spokane, and Columbia River Gorge communities daily. According to a March 5, 2016, story about the lease in The Columbian, “...the Port now has the option to get out of it without penalty.” Because Tesoro has not received permits necessary to proceed with its project, the Port is able to unilaterally terminate the lease. Critically, the Port Commission must act by August 1, 2016, or it will waive its ability to terminate the lease.

Calling on three years of experience in watching disastrous oil train derailments and generating hundreds of thousands of comments in opposition to Tesoro Savage, Vancouver business owners, health professionals, neighborhood leaders and climate activists have publicly urged the Port of Vancouver’s Commission to terminate its lease with the Port of Vancouver by August 1, 2016.  And The Columbian editorialized with a hard-hitting call for the Port to terminate the lease for the Tesoro Savage proposal, writing, “the proposed oil terminal is anathema to an appropriate vision for a thriving city.”

We are encouraging the Port Commission to take this opportunity to end the Tesoro Savage project. They will receive wide support from firefighters, elected officials, tribal nations, fishermen, teachers, health professionals, the City of Vancouver, the City of Portland, the Spokane City Council, and dozens of communities and groups in the Columbia River Gorge.

The facts are clear, the Port of Vancouver’s Commission can show strong, visionary leadership by steering the Port away from oil-by-rail and towards cleaner projects that the community will support.