Washington state city orders environmental review of oil-by-rail terminal

Rory Carroll, April 6, 2015, Reuters

The City of Vancouver, Washington, on Friday said it will conduct a thorough environmental review of NuStar Energy LP’s proposal to convert a bulk terminal into a facility capable of receiving crude oil by rail.


A full environmental impact statement will examine the risk of train accidents, oil spills and air pollution associated with the project, which would allow the San Antonio-based company to receive up to 22,000 barrels of oil a day at the facility.


The review will also give the public a greater opportunity to weigh in on the project.


North American shipments of oil by rail have jumped dramatically in recent years as oil produced in North Dakota and Canada has been loaded onto tanker cars bound for coastal refineries.


A series of fiery derailments this year in West Virginia, Illinois and Ontario have stoked public concern about the safety of moving crude by rail.


NuStar did not respond to a request for comment.


“Allowing an oil terminal to move forward in Vancouver would have serious impacts for the health and safety of those living near the proposed terminal site, along the rail line, and the Columbia River,” the Stand Up to Oil Coalition said in a statement on Monday.


“The risk of a train derailment and explosion, as well as the concerns of an oil spill on the river, should receive thorough scrutiny so that the city can make an informed decision.”


The announcement comes as environmentalists in the region are attempting to thwart another, much larger crude-by-rail project proposed by Tesoro Corp and Savage Companies that would be capable of receiving 280,000 barrels per day of crude at the Port of Vancouver.



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