Vote delayed: Heavy crude oil at Port Westward discussed

Port of Columbia County commissioners discussed a lease amendment for Global Partners at Port Westward, vote delayed.

Does the idea of mile-long trains carrying toxic tar sands oil through Columbia County communities sound as bad to you as it does to us? 
We need your help alerting the Port of St. Helens about significant risks from a new proposal by the oil company Global Partners (Global). The company is asking the Port Commission to allow Global to ship heavy oil—potentially including sinking oil such as tar sands—through its facility at Port Westward. The Port Commission could vote on the proposal soon.

Oil spills pose unacceptable risks to clean water, salmon, and our health. Global Partners wants Northwest communities to accept expanded oil operations, including oil trains and tankers. The Port should learn from the Mosier, Oregon, oil derailment and Washington state’s decision to reject the nation’s largest oil-by-rail terminal, Tesoro. Communities along the Columbia stand together to protect clean water from risky oil-by-rail—including Global Partners’ latest proposal,

Urge the Port Commissioners to decline Global’s request and protect public health, safety, and our environment.

Here are three ways you can weigh in with the Commissioners before they vote:
  1. Email the Port of St Helens Director and Commissioners:;;;;;;
  2. Call the Port of St Helens: 503-397-2888.
  3. Attend the Port meeting on Wednesday, November 28 at 8:30 a.m. at the Port office on 100 E Street, Columbia City, OR.
Consider sharing these ideas with the Port in your emails and calls:
  • The Port should decline Global's request to remove limits that currently prevent Global from shipping heavy crude oil. These limits offer important protections for residents, workers, and the environment.
  • Global lacks a spill response plan or the right equipment to handle a spill of sinking oil into the river. The current plan, approved by Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), does not include emergency preparedness and spill response measures for sinking oil.
  • Sinking oil spills are difficult or impossible to contain and clean up. These spills require specific planning and spill response strategies.
  • Some heavier oils also pose toxic inhalation hazards to nearby people (including first responders) if spilled. This also requires specific planning and response.
  • Global has a troubling history of changing its operations without legal approval. DEQ fined Global $117,292 in 2014 for shipping oil in violation of Global's air permit.
  • The Commission lacks assurances that workers, communities along the rail route, and downstream resources would be adequately protected from potential problems involved with heavy oil.
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