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Port Of Vancouver Staff Deal Blow Against Oil Terminal

The proposed site for an oil-by-rail terminal in Vancouver, Wash. The companies behind the development say criticism from opponents is premature.
The proposed site for an oil-by-rail terminal in Vancouver, Wash. The companies behind the development say criticism from opponents is premature.

The Port of Vancouver recommended that port commissioners vote against a lease extension with the companies backing a proposed oil terminal. The recommendation comes ahead of two port commission meetings next week.

On Tuesday, backers of the Vancouver Energy Project asked the port to extend a portion of its lease until Aug. 1, 2018.

Port officials said the recommendation is only about the amendment proposed by the company and does not affect the current lease.

"We're not making a judgement call on the project," said Abbi Russel, a spokeswoman with the port. "We remain committed Vancouver Energy. We remain committed to seeing the process through.”

Under the current lease, the terminal’s backers have three years to get the permits they need, which runs out in August.

If the deadline isn’t met, the lease allows the port or the project’s backers the ability to exit the contract.

It’s highly unlikely, if not impossible, for the Vancouver Energy Project to win state approval by August. A major component of Washington’s environmental review won’t be completed until the end of July.

Russel said commissioners would need to take a separate action to end the current lease.

If built, the project would the largest oil terminal in the country. It could move 360,000 barrels of crude oil daily.

Officials are planning a nearly 12-hour meeting April 12 at Clark College’s Gaiser Student Center in Vancouver, Washington to take comment from the public.

Commissioners are then scheduled to hold a meeting at the port’s offices April 15 to discuss the lease, and vote on whether to grant Tesoro-Savage’s request.

The companies didn't immediately respond to a request for comment about the port staff's recommendation.

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