Port to consider oil train resolution today

Rail safety concerns are mentioned

The Port of Camas-Washougal Commission is expected to vote today on a resolution, that includes concerns about rail safety and mobility issues, regarding the proposed oil terminal project at the Port of Vancouver.

An increase in oil train traffic is expected, if the terminal is built.

The resolution that will be under consideration during today’s meeting includes a request from the port to the Washington Department of Transportation and the Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board to analyze and study the potential economic effect of the oil train traffic on the displacement of existing economic activity.

The potential loss of access to rail transport by local and regional shippers and commuter services are also mentioned among the port commission’s concerns.

The resolution under consideration mentions the port supports national standards related to the inspection of rail, ties, beds, cars and operating systems, as well as standards for the maximum volatility of crude oil and rail tank car performance.

The port commission meeting is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m., in the port office meeting room, 24 S. “A” St., Washougal.

If the oil terminal project is approved by Gov. Jay Inslee, Vancouver Energy would accept and ship crude oil that originates in North America and arrives at the Port of Vancouver by rail. The oil would be temporarily stored in storage tanks, then transferred to double-hulled vessels, shipped to West Coast refineries and converted into transportation fuels for American consumption.

Jared Larrabee, general manager of Vancouver Energy, a joint venture of Tesoro Refining & Marketing Company LLC and Savage Companies, has said Vancouver and Clark County would benefit with approximately 320 full-time jobs during the construction of the oil terminal and 616 jobs to operate the facility.

One of the draft resolutions discussed during the Nov. 16 Port of C-W commission meeting mentioned the port provides economic benefit to the community through industrial development and recreation.

Commissioner Bill Ward described that resolution as the “least palatable.”

“The role of the Port of Camas-Washougal is to enhance, promote and advance the public good,” he said. “We engage in economic development activities, but our role is to make this a better place to live.

“I am loathe to think we are going to sacrifice what’s best for the public on the altar of economic development,” Ward added.

Bruce Fuerstenberg, of Washougal, said he understands the safety concerns associated with oil trains, but he said the area needs the jobs.

“Not one of us got here today in something that did not run on oil,” he said.