By Aaron Corvin and Eric Florip, August 21, 2014, The Columbian
The two companies proposing to build the Northwest’s largest oil-by-rail transfer terminal at the Port of Vancouver plan to release a new economic analysis of the project during an invitation-only event Friday. Meanwhile, Tesoro Corp. and Savage Companies are calling their joint venture by a new name: Vancouver Energy.
The economic report, authored by Analysis Group, will quantify expected economic and employment benefits of the proposed oil terminal, according to the companies. Analysis Group, a Boston-based firm with nine offices in the U.S., specializes in economic, financial and business consulting.
The report is scheduled to be released at 10 a.m. Friday at the Hilton Vancouver Washington. Officials from Tesoro, Savage and Analysis Group will attend the event, after which the report will be published on the Vancouver Energy project website.
The companies’ rollout of the economic study arrives amid conflict over the direction of Vancouver’s economic development, in light of the $150 million to $190 million proposed oil terminal and a $1.3 billion plan to redevelop the city’s former industrial waterfront.
Backers of the oil terminal say their project and the waterfront plan can coexist. Opponents disagree. Columbia Waterfront LLC — which includes Tualatin, Ore.-based Gramor Development and four local investors — argues the oil terminal would be a detriment to its effort to conduct a commercial/residential redevelopment of 32 acres of waterfront property. The oil terminal would be built less than 2 miles west of the waterfront site, which is next to port and BNSF Railway tracks.
As Tesoro and Savage plan to release the economic analysis, the companies also are using a new name, Vancouver Energy, to describe their effort to build the oil terminal.
In an email to The Columbian on Wednesday, Jeff Hymas, a spokesman for Savage, said the legal name of the companies’ joint venture remains Tesoro Savage Petroleum Terminal LLC. The companies also have referred to their proposed oil terminal as the Tesoro Savage Vancouver Energy Distribution Terminal. “For simplicity, we are now generally using the Vancouver Energy name for both,” Hymas said. “For quite some time, we’ve discussed the need for a shorter name that better represents the joint venture as its own entity and emphasizes the benefit of the proposed terminal to the Vancouver area.”
Hymas said the companies began using the Vancouver Energy name when they launched, in July, a new website (vancouverenergyusa.com) for the project.
In an email to The Columbian on Wednesday, Don Steinke, a Vancouver resident who opposes the oil terminal, said the name change “seems a bit much” when the “city of Vancouver has rejected the oil terminal, and when all 10 neighborhood associations that have taken a vote” have voted against it.
“Georgia Pacific didn’t rename their mill ‘Camas Paper,’ ” Steinke said. He added, “It would have been more accurate to name their facility Vancouver Crude, but recognizing that Vancouver would prefer to be considered clean and green, they whitewashed it to Vancouver Energy.”
Tesoro and Savage want to build an oil-by-rail terminal that would receive an average of 360,000 barrels of crude per day at the Port of Vancouver. The oil would be stored in six above-ground tanks. Each tank would have a shell capacity of 380,000 barrels for a total storage capacity of 2.28 million barrels. The oil would be loaded onto ships bound primarily for West Coast refineries.
Backers of the project say its benefits include new jobs, revenue for the port and increased U.S. energy independence. Critics cite many concerns, including potential oil spills, explosive oil train derailments and climate change.
The proposal is undergoing an environmental impact review by the Washington state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, which will eventually make a recommendation to Gov. Jay Inslee.
On Tuesday, the evaluation council voted unanimously to add six months to the time it will take to make a recommendation, moving the new deadline to March 2, 2015. The Tesoro-Savage application, filed on Aug. 29, 2013, is nearing its one-year anniversary.
Once the evaluation council makes its recommendation to Inslee, the governor has another 60 days to accept, reject or send it back to the evaluation council. The decision may be appealed to the state Supreme Court.