On Tuesday, April 12, 2016, Port of Vancouver Commissioners are conducting another public hearing . The lease for the largest crude oil-by-rail transfer, storage, and shipping terminal in North America – Vancouver Energy proposed by Tesoro Corporation and Savage Companies for Vancouver, Washington – expires on August 1. But Vancouver Energy proponents are requesting, Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway is supporting (and attending the hearing), and the Port Commissioners are considering a lease amendment extending the government approval contingency period of the lease by two years and providing an additional 30 months to resolve any approval appeals, decreasing higher monthly rent after August 1, foregoing operation of a second Tesoro Savage oil facility at the port, and allowing port use of Vancouver Energy premises during the extended contingency period .
Initially approving the Vancouver Energy lease in 2013, the Commissioners assumed that the Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) would complete its project review within 12 months per state law. In its third year of this arduous process, complicated and prolonged by widespread public resistance, Vancouver Energy has not obtained the government approvals necessary to build the terminal, as required by its Port of Vancouver lease. The terms of the original lease, which the Commissioners wisely negotiated and Vancouver Energy accepted, include the option for both parties to terminate the lease on or before August 1 “without further cost or obligation.” The Port Commissioners must decide by August whether they will use this critical opportunity to end the Tesoro Savage lease and thus lead the Northwest and the nation towards a clean, independent, and secure energy future. Otherwise, they lose this option.
Last Wednesday, April 6, Port of Vancouver staff significantly recommended against extending the Vancouver Energy lease; they will present their objections at the April 12 Port Commission meeting. Reconvening its April 12 regular meeting at 1 pm on Friday, April 15, at the Port’s administrative office, the Board of Commissioners will consider and likely take action on the lease amendment, without further on-site public comments.
Meanwhile, the Vancouver Port Commissioners need to know and understand that the region supports their positive, strong action to terminate the lease for the dangerous, dead-end Tesoro Savage project. Such encouragement must come from local and up-track community residents, tribal members, labor representatives, health professionals, firefighting and emergency personnel, business people, elected officials, faith leaders, and climate activists. Vancouver Energy oil terminal opponents of every perspective have packed each hearing to date and must again assert their concerns before Friday.
Please comment in-person or online about the proposed Port of Vancouver lease amendment requested by Tesoro and Savage for their Vancouver Energy oil-by-rail terminal! Ask the Port Commissioners to end the lease by August 1, as terminal proponents will not have acquired all of the necessary approvals by then to continue their joint venture. Explain how crude oil trains increasingly expose you and your family, friends, community, and environment to unnecessary risks and climate change that the Commissioners can help us all to avert. Continue reading