August 23, 2016
By John Ley, a pilot for Delta Airlines and a resident of Clark County for more than 20 years.
The Boeing 767 that I fly needs jet fuel that comes from petroleum. Boeing is our state’s largest employer. The company's planes could not fly without jet fuel refined from the same kind of oil that will be handled by the Vancouver Energy terminal.
The proposed terminal provides domestic crude oil that is integral not just to the Washington aerospace industry, but to our state’s way of life.
The economies of the entire West Coast are tied together by refined oil products. West Coast agricultural products are shipped all over the world. Diesel fuel powers the ocean-going barges and ships that frequent the ports of Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Portland, the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles.
According to the Energy Information Administration, Washington’s jet fuel consumption is one of the highest in the nation. Sea-Tac International Airport is in the midst of a huge expansion, as the natural jumping-off point for commercial and cargo flights to and from Asia. Washington’s multibillion-dollar aerospace industry is critically dependent not only on jet fuel but lubricants, plastics and other technology derived from or dependent on the petroleum industry.
Washington has two Air Force bases that use significant quantities of jet fuel to help protect our national security, not to mention the Army vehicles at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and naval facilities at Whidbey Island and Bremerton. Our Washington state ferry system is also the largest in the nation, and needs that low-sulfur crude oil to be refined into clean diesel fuel.
Additionally, the state ranked fifth in the nation in crude-oil-refining capacity in 2015. For more than three decades, the Port of Vancouver has safely been handling all types of refined oil products, with an impeccable safety record.
We can and do handle oil products safely. BNSF Railway, which will serve Vancouver Energy, reports that 99.99 percent of hazardous materials delivered by the company arrive without incident.
The economy of the entire West Coast will benefit from the proposed Vancouver terminal, and the project should be approved by the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council and Gov. Jay Inslee. My passengers and I will thank you.