The Capitol Record

Agency extends public comment period for oil terminal planned in Vancouver

The agency overseeing the permitting process for a controversial oil terminal in Vancouver agreed Wednesday to extend the public comment period and hold an additional hearing about the project in Spokane.

Port of Vancouver

The proposal by Tesoro Corporation and Savage Companies would create the Pacific Northwest’s largest oil terminal.

Oil would be brought by train from North Dakota to the Port of Vancouver in Washington, where it would be stored and then transferred to ships.

Hundreds of people turned out to speak about the proposal during two days of hearings in Vancouver last month, with many opposed to the project because of environmental concerns.

Others spoke about the risks associated with hauling oil by train through the Columbia River region. TVW taped the hearing.

The state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council organized the hearings as part of the scoping process to determine what should go into an environmental impact statement.

At a special meeting of the EFSEC council in Olympia on Wednesday, council manager Stephen Posner said there’s been 400 comments submitted so far about the project.

Posner recommended the agency extend the public comment period by 30 days and hold an additional hearing in Spokane to give more people a chance to weigh in.

Council chair Bill Lynch said he supported giving those in Eastern Washington who may be affected by train traffic an opportunity to comment. “It’s appropriate to have a hearing in Spokane,” Lynch said.

Posner said the hearing in Eastern Washington would likely be set for the second week of December. The public comment period would be extended until Dec. 18.

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