Governor decides to reject Vancouver Energy application

Vancouver Energy officials express disappointment with Inslee decision

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.

Gov. Jay Inslee announced on Jan. 29 that he made the decision to reject the site certification application for the Vancouver Energy project at the Port of Vancouver USA, according to a news release from the Port of Vancouver.

“After considering the record in this proceeding, I concur with the Council’s unanimous recommendation to reject the application,” Inslee wrote in a letter to Energy Site Evaluation Council Chair Kathleen Drew. “After considering all of the evidence in the record, the Council found that the risks of siting the proposed project at the Port of Vancouver exceeded the project’s potential benefits and determined that the application is not in the public interest.”

“Based on EFSEC’s recommendation, we aren’t surprised by the governor’s decision to reject the Vancouver Energy project,” said Port of Vancouver CEO Julianna Marler, according to the news release. “Our mission continues to be providing economic benefit to our community through leadership, stewardship and partnership in marine, industrial and waterfront development. We appreciate the governor’s recognition of our important role in regional trade and we will continue to fulfill that role.”

In a Jan. 30 statement from Vancouver Energy, Vancouver Energy Spokesperson Jeff Hymas said they are disappointed that Inslee chose to deny the project. Hymas said that they are currently evaluating their options for next steps.

“With this decision, the governor is rejecting much-needed family wage jobs and over $2 billion in economic value for Southwest Washington,” Hymas wrote in the statement. “The decision also forgoes the opportunity to bolster America’s energy security by providing state-of-the-art infrastructure that enables environmental benefits and a cleaner energy future.”

Hymas also stated that this decision sets an impossible standard for permitting new energy facilities in the state of Washington. He said that after four years of study and tens of millions of dollars, the Vancouver Energy facility and associated state-of-the-art facilities would have been “far superior and more robust with regard to the potential for an earthquake or oil spill than the crude oil trains that are already moving through the state every day and virtually all existing infrastructure in Washington.”

“The decision sends a clear anti-development message from state leadership that will have far-reaching negative impacts for industries across Washington state,” Hymas wrote.

Vancouver Energy has 30 days to appeal Inslee’s decision.

The Vancouver Energy project is a joint venture between Andeavor (formerly Tesoro Corp.) and Savage Companies. The project proposes to bring up to 360,000 barrels of North American crude oil by rail to the port daily, where it would be loaded into U.S.-built, U.S.-flagged, and U.S.-staffed marine vessels for shipment to refineries in Alaska, California and Washington. The project has been under review by the Energy Site Evaluation Council since August 2013.

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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.