By Marissa Luck, February 4, 2015, The Daily News
Lease negotiations between the Port of Longview and Haven Energy hit an unexpected hang-up this week. The two parties had originally planned to reveal the terms of the lease to the public at a meeting Wednesday night, but that meeting was cancelled Tuesday.
Port negotiators involved in the deal say “the delay is the result of technical details and preparing the documents for consideration, not because of any key points in the negotiations”, according to port spokeswoman Ashley Helenberg. Representatives of both the port and Haven said Tuesday that they were confident the deal would be completed despite this week’s schedule setback.
The port has been in negotiations with Haven over a lease for eight months. Talks hit a snag last summer over the price for renting port property and the rates Haven would pay for moving cargo, according to port staff. Helenberg said the two parties have since resolved key differences over commercial terms.
“Nothing unexpected has come up in the lease negotiations,” said Haven Energy spokesman Bruce Gryniewski on Tuesday. “We have an agreement in principle with the Port of Longview management and are currently finalizing language that will be presented to the commissioners.”
Helenberg said there will still be a public meeting at the Expo Center on Feb. 19, but it will begin at 5:30 p.m., rather than its listed starting time in the afternoon. An updated schedule for the public comment period will be presented at the port commission’s Feb. 10 meeting.
Commissioners are expected to vote on the lease agreement in March.
Haven wants to build the $275 million propane export terminal at the port’s vacant Berth 4. The Texas-based company said the project would create 2,000 construction jobs and 110 to 125 direct and indirect jobs. Liquid propane and butane would be shipped from North Dakota by rail, handling an average of two 100-car trains every three days. The proposal has faced criticism from environmental activists worried about the potential safety hazards associated with storing liquefied propane in tanks near the Columbia River.