Friends, Coalition Partners Deliver 1.3 Million Comments Against Coal and Oil Transport

Friends, Coalition Partners Deliver 1.3 Million Comments Against Coal and Oil Transport
Rally on the Washington Capitol steps in Olympia before the petition deliveries. (photographer: Ryan Rittenhouse)

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Today, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Power Past Coal (PPC) and Stand Up To Oil (SUTO) coalitions celebrate gathering 1.3 million comments against oil trains, oil terminals and coal exports through the Northwest. Friends, PPC and SUTO held a rally today in Olympia on the Capitol steps and then presented the signatures to the Washington Governor’s office.

This summer, Governor Jay Inslee can weigh in to block the Tesoro Savage oil terminal in Vancouver and Washington’s Department of Ecology can deny permits for coal export in Longview. Now is the time for decision-makers to act to deny permits for these terminals and protect the Columbia River Gorge from coal and oil trains and they need to hear from you!

The next chance for you to weigh in to stop Tesoro’s massive oil-by-rail terminal is now. The Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) is accepting comments and holding a hearing on the air pollution permits for the proposed Tesoro Savage oil-by-rail terminal. Please attend the hearing in Vancouver on June 7 (view hearing details) and speak out against siting the largest oil-by-rail terminal in the North America on the banks of the Columbia River!

Oil train terminals are major sources of toxic air pollution. Tesoro would release smog-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs), diesel exhaust, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and other pollutants linked to increased cancer rates. Tesoro Savage is tries to downplay this impact. Here’s where you come in: Tell EFSEC not to sacrifice the health of Columbia River Gorge, Vancouver’s residents, schoolchildren, and businesses for Tesoro’s massive oil-by- rail scheme.

Sample Public Comment

Re: Deny Tesoro Savage Air Pollution Permit
Chair Lynch and Members of EFSEC:

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.  I am deeply concerned about the safety, public health, environmental, and economic impacts of the Tesoro Savage (“Vancouver Energy”) oil terminal proposed in Vancouver, Washington. Roughly one year after an oil train derailed, spilled, and burned in the small town of Mosier, Oregon, I have not forgotten that oil trains are reckless. Since the derailment, I have also learned that the oil trains and terminal will routinely pollute the air in the Columbia River Gorge, and the Vancouver-Portland metro area. EFSEC should deny the air pollution permit because:
  • Tesoro Savage has not demonstrated that it will protect the health and safety of Vancouver residents and others in the region who may be impacted by air pollution from the proposed oil train terminal.
  • Tesoro Savage makes unrealistic assumptions about the quantity of toxic air pollution it will release. In particular, Tesoro Savage underestimates the terminal’s potential volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emissions. VOCs are toxic and contribute to the formation of smog, a respiratory irritant.
  • Tesoro Savage failed to model accurately the dispersion of VOCs and the potential formation of smog as a result of this project.
  • Tesoro understates the amount of pollution associated with the project. In turn, Tesoro Savage the operation as a “minor source of air pollution.” The project will, in fact, be a major source of air pollution including VOCs and carbon dioxide.
  • Tesoro Savage understates the greenhouse gas pollution impact of its project by ignoring upstream and downstream sources of pollution.
  • Tesoro Savage proposes to rely on mitigation measures that will be difficult or impossible to enforce. For instance, Tesoro insists it will only handle oil with low vapor pressures. However, Bakken crude oil can have high vapor pressure. EFSEC should not rely on Tesoro’s unsure mitigation to protect the health and safety of Vancouver residents.
  • The permit fails to address all of the air pollution impacts of Tesoro’s proposed operations. Where the permit does not address mobile sources of air pollution (such as ships or trains), the public is relying on EFSEC to fully assess these impacts and include this analysis in its Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS).

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