Vancouver residents showed their support for the Vancouver Energy oil-by-rail terminal in letters to the editor in the Columbian newspaper over the weekend.

The first letter was by Nate Stokes, a Vancouver resident and member of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 701.

The safety of my brothers and sisters is of utmost importance to me and to all who work in the building trades. That’s why we have actively supported the Vancouver Energy project at the Port of Vancouver USA — safety comes first.

This project would bring together more than 1,000 people in the construction and operation of this facility. We know Tesoro-Savage is taking all of the necessary steps to put worker safety first, through its on-site protocols, worker training and a commitment to slowly increase operations based solely on their safety performance. We also realize this project has been subject to one of the most intense regulatory reviews in Washington state history, and that every aspect of this project is being analyzed, including its safety.

We believe Vancouver Energy can operate safely here in Southwest Washington, and we are prepared to help build this facility in a way that brings every one of our workers back home to their families safely each night.

The second letter was by Steve Burger, a Vancouver resident and member of Boilermakers Local 242.

It is time we asked the question “What is the purpose of a working port?”

Many in our community do not fully understand the value and importance of the Port of Vancouver USA, in terms of not only the jobs it creates but the multiplier effect on our local, state and regional economy. The Tesoro-Savage proposal to construct and operate an oil transfer terminal represents a legitimate and vital use of our port and the infrastructure investments that come with it.

Upgrades to our rail networks would also benefit the shipment of other commodities, including many of our agricultural products. It would also generate $2 billion for the local and regional economy through jobs and tax revenue. That’s not small money, particularly at a time when local and state government are scrambling to provide basic — and vital — services like public safety and education.

Ports play an integral role in our trade-based economy. The Port of Vancouver is rightly pursuing tenants who, through their own infrastructure investments, will also improve the value of the port and its activities. I support Vancouver Energy because I support our ports, the people they employ, and the value they bring to Southwest Washington.

Vancouver Energy will provide more than 300 jobs in the building trades and support 1,000 direct and indirect jobs. Annually the terminal will also bring in $1.6 billion in labor income and more than $2 billion in total economic impact.

Labor leaders from 20 different unions recently sent a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee urging him to support the Vancouver Energy project.

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