VANCOUVER, WA — Aug. 2, 2016 — The conclusion of a five-week adjudicative hearing on July 29 marks a major milestone in the ongoing review of the Vancouver Energy terminal by Washington state’s Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC). During the hearings in Vancouver and Olympia, the Council was presented with evidence from both supporters and intervenors of the proposed terminal, and is now tasked with making a recommendation to Governor Jay Inslee after deliberations. Governor Inslee will decide whether to approve the project, which would support thousands of family-wage jobs and $2 billion in economic value to the region while reducing the country’s reliance on foreign oil.
“EFSEC’s statutory language acknowledges the policy of the state of Washington to recognize the pressing need for increased energy facilities,” said Jared Larrabee, Vancouver Energy general manager.
“Washington and other West Coast consumers benefit from access to North American crude oil that ultimately is converted to transportation fuels to drive our economy forward. We believe we have demonstrated our commitment to go beyond current regulations in many instances, in order to instill confidence in our ability to protect the environment, safely handle crude oil and play an important role in meeting demand for petroleum products,” Larrabee said.
During the hearing, expert testimony was provided about the economic need for the project, rail and marine safety, terminal design and operations, planning for emergency response preparedness, and other related topics. Commitments announced during the hearing include additional safety measures to increase emergency response preparedness. This is in addition to previous commitments to accept only DOT-117 tank cars or better at the terminal in advance of federal phase-in requirements, and to require a tug escort for all outgoing vessels. Vancouver Energy has already placed nearly $1 million worth of response equipment along the Columbia River.
In his closing statement on Friday, Vancouver Energy attorney Jay Derr said the Council must "separate the fact from the hysteria" as it considers evidence and rely on proof presented by witnesses. Vancouver Energy "provides a reliable path" to bring midcontinent North American crude oil to refineries in Washington and the West Coast as the crude oil supply from Alaska is in decline, Derr added.
The Council has a responsibility to ensure Washington’s energy needs are secure for the years to come, Derr said, noting that the state’s manufacturing, consumer goods, trade, agriculture and aerospace industries could not function without abundant petroleum fuels at a reasonable cost.
Brad Roach, senior director for market analysis and senior economist at Tesoro, one of the partner companies of Vancouver Energy, testified that Vancouver Energy will provide a reliable source of domestic crude oil from the Bakken region. He also said the terminal would provide a bridge to the new energy future, and in its lifespan could even handle domestic biofuels transported by rail when they are developed to commercial scale. Tesoro continues to work collaboratively with several renewable energy companies to advance biomass-to-fuels technology. This technology would enable Tesoro’s existing fuel manufacturing infrastructure to help meet the demand for low-carbon, advanced biofuels, while benefiting communities, consumers and the environment.
During the public comment portion of the hearing on Friday, a long list of small business owners, local residents, labor leaders, maritime experts and other business leaders spoke in favor of Vancouver Energy, describing its benefits for jobs, state and local economies, and the use of less carbon intensive crude oil. Joe Wilson, vice president of Pederson Brothers in Bellingham and member of the Washington Coalition for Energy Independence, stated that “Vancouver Energy will help ensure stable supplies of petroleum for refineries to produce fuel for those vehicles that are essential to our economy and way of life, and also jet fuel, bunker fuel, lubricants and other products essential to travel by air, sea and land.”
Vancouver Energy is a joint venture between Tesoro Refining & Marketing Company LLC and Savage Companies. The proposed Vancouver Energy terminal will serve a basic and important function: the safe transfer of North American crude oil from rail to ship. The project has the potential to displace 30 percent of the crude oil currently imported from foreign countries for use on the West Coast and to further our efforts toward energy security and independence. For more information, visit www.vancouverenergyusa.com.
Christina Barbee, Vancouver Energy Media Relations
210-626-7702 or [email protected]