By Vancouver Energy On July 29, 2016
The 5-week adjudication proceedings concluded today, with closing arguments from attorneys in the morning and comment from members of the public in the afternoon.
In his closing argument, Vancouver Energy attorney Jay Derr said EFSEC must "separate the fact from the hysteria" as it considers the evidence and rely on proof presented by witnesses, not just assertions. Vancouver Energy "provides a reliable path" to bring mid-continent North American crude oil to refineries in Washington and the West Coast as the oil supply from Alaska is in decline, Derr said.
"We believe the evidence has demonstrated that this project is necessary to secure a strong, stable, reliable supply of energy for the citizens of Washington," Derr said. "We believe the evidence has demonstrated that this project can be designed, constructed and operated safely and can protect the quality of our environment."
During public comment, a long list of small business owners, local residents, labor leaders, maritime experts and other business leaders spoke in favor of Vancouver Energy. They described the economic and job benefits of the proposed terminal, its boost to U.S. energy independence and the environmental benefits of the project’s use of less carbon intensive crude oil.
Several speakers said the intervenors during adjudication tried to drastically downplay the economic benefits of the terminal, including its family-wage jobs, tax revenue for schools and increased spending in the local community.
Neil Hartman of the Washington State Building & Construction Trades Council said the jobs will have significant value to people’s lives.
“We’ve seen billions of dollars in other new construction opportunities cancelled in Longview, Tacoma and other communities,” he said. “The more than 300 jobs required to build the Vancouver Energy terminal will be a tremendous shot in the arm to the construction industry, and we need it.”
Alan Sprott, vice president at Vigor Industrial in Portland, said EFSEC’s decision on Vancouver Energy should be “based on facts and not erroneous information and conjecture.”
Joe Wilson, vice president of Pederson Brothers in Bellingham and member of the Washington Coalition for Energy Independence, said the terminal will help provide crude oil that’s needed to maintain the state of Washington’s way of life.
“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,” Wilson said. “Transportation is only one important area of need for petroleum, but it’s a big one.”