EFSEC votes to recommend disapproval of Vancouver Energy application

Council will recommend to Gov. Jay Inslee that he deny site certification to build an oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver

Port of Vancouver
Courtesy of Port of Vancouver. On Jan. 29, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that he made the decision to reject the site certification application for the Vancouver Energy project at the Port of Vancouver.

During a special meeting of the Washington State Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) held on Tuesday, Nov. 28, in Olympia, the Council unanimously voted to recommend disapproval of the $210-million oil terminal that Vancouver Energy has proposed to build at the Port of Vancouver.

Greg Shafer, EFSEC council member and a Clark County Public Works employee, made the motion to recommend disapproval of Vancouver Energy’s application for site certification of the proposed oil terminal. Shafer said during the meeting that EFSEC’s findings show that Vancouver Energy “has not met its burden … to establish that the Port of Vancouver is an acceptable location to site the proposed Vancouver Energy distribution terminal …”

Council member Jaime Rossman said he was inclined to agree with this direction and said that the Final Environmental Impact Statement “clearly outlines a number of impacts and risks that speak for themselves in describing some of the potential dangers of the facility.”

EFSEC originally had deadline of getting the recommendation to Gov. Jay Inslee by Nov. 30, but the council voted to extend that deadline to Dec. 29. The council will draw up its final report and will then vote to send the document/decision to Inslee during its next regular meeting on Dec. 19. Inslee will have 60 days to respond as he receives the recommendation.

Jeff Hymas, communications director for Vancouver Energy, issued a statement from Vancouver Energy regarding EFSEC’s recommendation.

“We are extremely disappointed, especially after a review of more than four years in a process that state law says should take one year,” the statement read. “EFSEC has set an impossible standard for new energy facilities based on the risk of incidents that the Final Environmental Impact Statement characterizes as extremely unlikely. The FEIS confirmed that construction and normal operation of the facility would have no significant unavoidable impacts that cannot be mitigated.”

The statement concludes: “This decision sends a clear anti-development message that will have a chilling effect on business in the state of Washington.”

The proposed terminal would have the ability to receive an average of 360,000 barrels of crude oil per day by rail, temporarily store the oil onsite and then load the oil onto marine vessels for transport to existing refineries primarily located on the West Coast.

The Final Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed oil terminal can be found here. Video of the Nov. 28 EFSEC special meeting in Olympia can be found here.



Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start ClarkCountyToday.com.