Washington’s Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) held its final major public hearing on the Tesoro Savage oil-by-rail terminal, with over 200 attendees during the rally and 300 attendees throughout the day urging Governor Inslee and EFSEC to deny the largest proposed oil terminal in North America. EFSEC collected public comments on the draft air pollution permit for Tesoro, the largest proposed oil train terminal in North America. This was likely the public’s last chance to weigh in before EFSEC makes a final recommendation to Governor Inslee.
Among the voices standing up for communities and calling for an end to reckless oil trains:
Dr. Elizabeth Lee: “Tesoro would release smog-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs), diesel exhaust, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and other pollutants linked to increased cancer rates. These toxic emissions, combined with pollutants from oil trains and oil ships, threaten the health of Fruit Valley neighbors and others. This is a moral and environmental justice issue. Local physicians want to be proactive – prevent problems rather than treat existing problems. We call on EFSEC and, ultimately, our governor, to deny this dangerous project.”
Cecile Gernez, Conservation Organizer for the Washington State Chapter of Sierra Club: “We are all here fighting for our right to a liveable climate and breathable air” said “We need Governor Inslee to be the climate champion we know he can be, and fully deny this project.”
Rebecca Ponzio, director of Stand Up To Oil: “This project is a direct threat to our health, safety and wellbeing. From the up to 5 fully loaded, mile-long oil trains traveling along the Columbia River to the noxious air emissions from the site at the Port. We call on Governor Inslee to deny this project and move on to projects the build our clean energy future.”
Michael Lang, Conservation Director, Friends of the Columbia Gorge: “From the tragedy in Lac Megantic four years ago that resulted in 47 deaths to the oil train wreck one year ago in Mosier, Oregon, we know oil-by-rail is fundamentally unsafe. Tesoro’s Vancouver Energy terminal would dramatically increase dangerous oil train traffic through the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Governor Inslee should protect our national scenic treasure and its communities by denying this oil terminal proposal.”
Bob Low, engineer with Western AgTech Solutions and Vancouver resident: “Tesoro’s calculations are so riddled with errors, omissions, internal inconsistencies and misrepresentations that their application is not viable or credible, and the entire application should be flatly rejected. We are calling on Governor Inslee to reject this project outright.”
Dan Serres, Conservation Director, Columbia Riverkeeper: “We all know that oil trains are reckless. We learned that first-hand again just one year ago when a train derailed and burned in Mosier. Tesoro’s toxic air pollution is yet another reason for Governor Inslee to deny this project. We simply cannot trust the oil industry with the safety and health of Vancouver and dozens of other communities impacted by this project.”
Julia May, Senior Scientist for Communities For a Better Environment: “Our experience with Tesoro’s oil storage tanks in L.A. shows that the proposed Vancouver tanks can emit harmful pollutants near neighbors. The permit contains fatal flaws that dramatically understate the pollution from this proposal.”
What’s Next for Oil-by-Rail in the Pacific NW?
In the coming months, Washington’s Energy Facility Siting Evaluation Council (EFSEC) will make a recommendation on the Tesoro Savage proposal in Vancouver, Washington. Ultimately, Washington Governor Inslee will make the final decision about whether to deny the terminal which would be the largest oil train terminal in North America. The project would bring up to five loaded oil trains each day through the Columbia River Gorge carrying the same volatile Bakken crude oil that burned during the Mosier derailment in June 2016.