Other Crude Oil Transport Projects

Numerous terminal proposals in the Pacific Northwest could result in a total of 100 oil trains moving through the Gorge weekly

Other Crude Oil Transport Projects
An oil train travels over Drano Lake in the eastern Columbia Gorge, heading for an existing Northwest oil terminal. (photographer: Joe Urmos)

Read updates and descriptions of all the proposed Pacific Northwest crude oil terminals - all of which would receive oil trains from the Columbia Gorge.


While Tesoro’s “Vancouver Energy” proposal is by far the biggest of the Northwest oil-by-rail projects, numerous smaller oil terminals have been proposed or are already operating. Even leaving the Tesoro proposal out of the equation, if all of these projects were to come online the Columbia River Gorge would see an additional 30 mile-long trains each week, the explosive cargo of Bakken crude posing a disastrous threat to the Columbia River and communities along the rail route.
 
Five terminal proposals have been defeated, but several more remain. (Map created by Sightline Institute)
 

Proposed Projects - Updates

Vancouver, WA

Rejected: The NuStar terminal in Vancouver, WA was granted a permit to handle ethanol in March 2017, with the condition that an application to handle crude oil was officially dropped.


Grays Harbor, WA

There are two terminals currently proposed for development or expansion near Hoquiam, WA. These would result in a combined 12 more oil trains moving through the Gorge every week.

  • Defeated: The Westway terminal went through its DEIS process and hearing last fall, the same time as Imperium. The comment period closed on Nov. 30, 2015. In early 2017 the Washington Supreme Court ruled that the Ocean Resources Management Act (ORMA) applied to this project, and that its strict permitting requirements apply to crude oil shipping terminals. This ruling will effectively block a proposed oil terminal in Hoquiam.
  • Withdrawn: The Grays Harbor Rail terminal never progressed beyond the scoping stage. U.S. Development Group, the backers of the proposal, terminated the lease with the Port of Grays Harbor on November 11, 2015.
  • Withdrawn: The Imperium terminal was bought by Renewable Energy Group (REG) last summer. REG has announced it will no longer be pursuing permits to handle crude oil at the facility, instead to only continue handling biodiesel, petroleum diesel, vegetable oil and methanol, but there is nothing yet that legally binds this commitment.

Port Westward, OR

Withdrawn: In January, Global Partners laid off eight percent of its work force and aims to handle only ethanol, not crude, at its rail terminal in Oregon in response to the nearly 70 percent plunge in oil prices since mid-2014. Before January, the terminal had received all necessary regulatory approval and was exporting crude oil. Global Partners accomplished this by manipulating loopholes in the regulatory system to get adjustments for an existing biofuel facility instead of going through a more in-depth and full permit review with public input that a new facility would have required. They also acquired approval and funding to expand the dock near their facility to increase their export capabilities and receive larger ships. That project is slated to be finished in the third quarter this year. Global Partners could elect to again handle crude oil should market conditions improve.

Longview, WA

Rejected: Waterside Energy (also called Riverside Refining), which is led by the same people who were behind the failed TransMessis Columbia Plateau biofuels plant in Odessa, WA, is seeking permits for a new oil refinery and propane terminal in Longview, WA. After being abandoned in 2014, the Odessa plant required more than $400,000 worth of environmental cleanup. The EPA estimates final cleanup costs will be around $580,000. There has not been a public hearing or comment period scheduled yet for the Waterside refinery proposal.

Anacortes, WA: UPDATE Oct. 2016 - Proposal abandoned!

 
Shell’s refinery in Anacortes, WA. A proposal to add capacity to the facility that would have resulted in an additional 60,000 barrels of explosive Bakken crude oil each day was abandoned in October 2016. (photographer: Walter Siegmund/Wikipedia Commons)
 

All Proposed Oil by Rail Projects - by the Numbers

Vancouver, WA

Project Name: Vancouver Energy (Read details of project)
Developer: Tesoro Savage
Operating capacity: 360,000 barrels per day – 36 trains per week

Project Name: NuStar terminal
Developer: NuStar Energy
Operating capacity: 22,000 barrels per day – 2.2 trains per week
 

Longview, WA

Project Name: Riverside terminal
Developer: Waterside, Inc.
Operating capacity: 30,000 barrels per day – 3 trains per week
 

Grays Harbor, WA

Project Name: Westway terminal
Developer: Westway Terminal Company
Operating capacity: 49,000 barrels per day – 5 trains per week

Project Name: Grays Harbor Rail terminal
Developer: U.S. Development Group
Operating capacity: 45,000 barrels per day – 4.5 trains per week
 

Anacortes, WA

Project Name: Shell Puget Sound Refinery (add-on to existing facility)
Developer: Shell
Operating capacity: Additional 60,000 barrels per day – 6 trains per week

Project Name: Tesoro Refinery
Developer: Tesoro
Operating capacity: 50,000 barrels per day – 5 trains per week
 

Ferndale, WA

Project Name: BP Refinery
Developer: British Petroleum
Operating capacity: 70,000 barrels per day – 7 trains per week

Project Name: Philips 66 Refinery
Developer: Philips 66
Operating capacity: 35,000 barrels per day – 3.5 trains per week
 

Tacoma, WA

Project Name: US Oil & Refining
Developer: US Oil
Operating capacity: 40,000 barrels per day – 4 trains per week

Project Name: Targa Terminals
Developer: Targa
Operating capacity: 40.000 barrels per day – 4 trains per week

Total capacity of all oil by rail projects: Over 800,000 barrels per day, over 74 trains per week.
 

Resources

Stand Up to Oil coalition, of which Friends is a member
Sightline Institute articles about crude oil transport
Sightline Institute’s Report “The Northwest’s Pipeline on Rails
Oil Check – an interactive map of all Northwest opposition to oil trains.
Oil Train Blast Zone – an interactive map from Forest Ethics showing how close you live to an oil train blast or evacuation zone.
+ Read More


Get Involved

Friends’ conservation work is driven by members, volunteers, and activists. There are many ways to join our community of Gorge enthusiasts. Here are some ways to get started:

After Mosier: Never Again

After Mosier: Never Again

Send a message to elected officials: Ban oil trains and terminals in Oregon and Washington.

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Attend a CGCAN Meeting

Attend a CGCAN Meeting

Live in the Gorge? The Columbia Gorge Climate Action Network works to protect Gorge communities from fossil-fuel transport.

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Wasco County Commission Votes to Deny Rail Expansion Through Mosier
Looking west toward Mosier, OR, from Mosier Plateau, with the Union Pacific rail line running through town. (photographer: Paloma Ayala)

Wasco County Commission Votes to Deny Rail Expansion Through Mosier

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Unanimous vote based on violations of Yakama Nation treaty rights; final action next week. Read More

Mosier Oil Train Disaster Anniversary Community Gathering
Mosier community members, determined to keep their town safe. (photographer: Robin Dickenson)

Mosier Oil Train Disaster Anniversary Community Gathering

Saturday, June 3, 2017

We will gather in Mosier to mark the one-year anniversary of the frightening, nearly catastrophic oil train derailment, spill, and fire. Event Details