Robust planning will help ensure terminal safety

By Vancouver Energy On July 5, 2016

Experts at today's adjudication proceedings described the very low risk of incident at the proposed Vancouver Energy terminal, as well as the safety measures and emergency response plans in place to ensure the project's safety.

IMG_7530Eric Haugstad, director of contingency planning and emergency response for Tesoro, said in his testimony that the terminal will contain state-of-the-art, spill-response equipment. Emergency equipment has already been strategically located along the Columbia River to allow for a robust response capability, he said.

The terminal is designed to withstand a 9.0 magnitude earthquake, and the double-bottomed oil storage tanks include equipment designed to detect hydrocarbons before a leak is able to get through the bottom of the tank, providing added protection against spills during a seismic event, Haugstad said.

Vancouver Energy operators receive extensive safety training, Haugstad added. Tesoro conducts a rigorous training program for its employees and partners with local public safety organizations. Vancouver Energy has reached out to nearby emergency departments, including the Vancouver Fire Department, to offer spill response training, he said.

Also on Tuesday, risk experts talked about the very low risk of incident at the proposed terminal. Kelly Thomas, vice president of Baker Engineering and Risk Consultants, said in his written filings that the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) primarily articulates worst-case scenarios and neglects the highly infrequent nature of their occurrence. In addition, this type of consequence modeling ignores the full range of prevention and mitigation options available to a facility to reduce both the likelihood and consequence of an event.

David Sawicki, president of The Sawicki Group and a former member of the Washington State Oil Spill Task Force, testified that based on his review of facility procedures and worker training programs, the site is safe and suitable for the operation of a crude oil offloading facility at the Port of Vancouver.