At a critical bend in the Columbia River Estuary, a company called NEXT Renewable Fuels, Inc., is seeking to build a new, massive renewable diesel refinery.
More Industrialization of Port Westward? What's Next?
Port Westward area, where NEXT would import materials and feedstocks and ship out renewable diesel and other fuels.
At a critical bend in the Columbia River Estuary, a company called NEXT Renewable Fuels, Inc., is seeking to build a new, massive renewable diesel refinery. The proposed refinery at Port Westward would be one of the largest producers of renewable diesel on the West Coast, but it is proposed to be located in an area with unsuitable soils, nearby sensitive farms and residences, and high-value salmon habitat. The flood-prone, salmon-sustaining area would not support a refinery well.
To move forward with the project, NEXT must obtain a number of land use approvals from Columbia County, including a Conditional Use Permit to construct a new rail spur to bring in feedstock. The Columbia County Board of Commissioners is currently accepting public comments regarding NEXT’s land use applications.
Here’s how to participate:
- The public hearing will be held on January 19th at 10 AM. Details on how to join can be found here. The Columbia County Commission should be considering the compatibility of the project—which would have major impacts in and near the Beaver Drainage District—with neighboring farms, residences, and natural habitat.
- You can send written comments to firstname.lastname@example.org from now through January 26th, which is 7 days after the public hearing on January 19th where oral testimony will be accepted. Comments are best if they are focused on whether the NEXT project, both the refinery and rail spur, are consistent with the adjacent uses. The impacts of rail traffic, water pollution, air pollution, and gas flare emissions all impact the health and safety of neighbors.
- Our FAQ document includes more details on NEXT’s proposed development, and potential issues you can raise in your own comments. Read it here.
Stay tuned on this issue, because the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may be conducting an environmental impact analysis in 2022, and this will offer us another opportunity to weigh in on the project. In coming months, Oregon DEQ may also begin its process of considering air permits for NEXTl.
Stunning new fossil fuel proposals threaten the Columbia. The good news? We are fighting and winning!