Debate heats up as Vancouver oil train terminal decision nears

Vancouver oil train terminal debate heats up

VANCOUVER, Wash. -- Time is running out for those opposing the construction of what would be the largest oil train terminal in the country.

Wednesday night members of the public voiced their opinions at one of the project's final public hearings.

The hearing was held at Clark College. If approved, the terminal will be built in Vancouver.

But the debate has been going on for about four years.

Vancouver Energy, a joint venture between Tesoro and Savage companies, wants to build the largest oil-by-rail terminal in North America at the Port of Vancouver.

The operation would handle as many as four oil trains a day. Most of the trains would come down the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge. The oil would then be moved by ship to refineries up and down the west coast.

Supporters and opponents of the project sounded off at Wednesday night’s hearing.

Those who support it said it would bring jobs and energize Vancouver's struggling economy.

"I think it will create jobs, but at the same time it creates a tax base that will help the local community when they really need it," said Lee Newgent with Washington Building Trades.

But those who oppose the project said the dangers far outweigh any benefits.

"We are calling on Governor Inslee to deny this project not just because of the risk of oil train explosions, but also because the daily operation of this would hurt people's lungs who live near the terminal," said Dan Serres, the conservation director for Columbia Riverkeeper.

Gov. Inslee will make the final decision on this controversial terminal. That decision could come as early as this summer.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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