Washington Governor Rejects Oil Terminal Application

Gov. Jay Inslee's letter said several issues compelled his decision, including seismic risks at the site that "present an unacceptable and potentially catastrophic risk to the public," the inability to sufficiently mitigate oil spill risks into the Columbia River or the Pacific Ocean, and the potential safety risks of a fire or explosion.

Washington state's governor, Jay Inslee, on Jan. 29 notified state regulators that he agrees with their unanimous recommendation to reject Tesoro Savage's application to build a new crude oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver. The joint venture of Tesoro Corp., which last August changed its name to Andeavor, and Savage Companies is proposed to accept an average of 360,000 barrels of North American crude oil per day arriving by trains at the port. Oil would be stored temporarily on site and then loaded onto tankers and ships headed for West Coast refineries.

Inslee's decision follows an evaluation process by the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, which voted last November to deny the permit and last month submitted its recommendation to the governor. Inslee's letter said several issues compelled his decision, including seismic risks at the site that "present an unacceptable and potentially catastrophic risk to the public," the inability to sufficiently mitigate oil spill risks into the Columbia River or the Pacific Ocean, and the potential safety risks of a fire or explosion.

"The Council has thoroughly examined these and other issues and determined that it is not possible to adequately mitigate the risks, or eliminate the adverse impacts of the facility, to an acceptable level," he wrote. "When weighing all of the factors considered against the need for and potential benefits of the facility at this location, I believe the record reflects substantial evidence that the project does not meet the broad public interest standard necessary for the Council to recommend site certification."

Inslee also said the application is "unprecedented both in its scale and the scope of issues it raised."

"While this process has demonstrated that this particular project is wrong for this particular proposed location, I am confident that our ports will continue to play an important role in regional trade, and providing opportunities for jobs in clean energy," he added.

The announcement said Tesoro Savage has 30 days to appeal the governor's decision in Thurston County Superior Court.

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