Case Study: Waterside Oil Refinery

Columbia Riverkeeper works with people in dozens of communities—from rural to urban—who share the same goals: Protect the health of their families and the places they love. 

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Case Study: Waterside Oil Refinery

Waterside Energy proposed the first west coast oil refinery in 25 years and the first ever on the Columbia River. Oil trains would have delivered crude to the refinery in Longview. Waterside Energy announced the project to great fanfare in 2015, after negotiating quietly with the Port of Longview for nearly two years. Riverkeeper partnered with the Lower Columbia Stewardship Council to launch a rapid-response campaign.

First, we provided the Port of Longview information about the proposed terminal. Riverkeeper discovered Waterside's backers were engaged in a failed biofuels business, so we submitted numerous public records requests and spoke to key people involved. We found out Waterside’s principals had abruptly fired their workers, failed to pay debts, and left behind a Superfund cleanup site at their old facility. We met with Port Commissioners and presented this information.  

Second, we partnered with local residents to pressure the Port to reject the oil refinery. We organized regular attendance and comments at Port meetings, including comments on Waterside’s finances and business reputation. We highlighted the health impacts of oil refineries and the financial risk to the Port. Local residents submitted regular OpEds and letters to the editor. On February 23, 2016, the Port of Longview commissioners voted unanimously to end negotiations with Waterside Energy. This rapid-response campaign helped prevent a new oil refinery on the Columbia.

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Columbia Riverkeeper Case Studies

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