Kitzhaber takes aim at Boardman Coal Terminal, proposes to propose new statewide environmental law

April 19, 2014 –  Non-executive Summary–  Governor Kitzhaber has proposed to propose a new and comprehensive statewide environmental law. This would be the first such act adopted by a state in over 40 years according to Columbia Riverkeeper.

After years of hedging, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber proclaimed emphatically that “It is time to once and for all to say NO to coal exports from the Pacific Northwest. It is time to say YES to national and state energy policies that will transform our economy and our communities into a future that can sustain the next generation”.

The Governor stated that he expects the Oregon Department of State Lands to reach its final decision on Ambre Energy’s proposed Boardman Coal Terminal by  May 31, 2014.

At the same time, however, the Governor claims to lack the authority to do much about the darn coal terminals right now:

Unfortunately, Oregon law is more limited (than Washington state) in terms of what we can consider in reviewing large-scale projects such as the proposed Ambre coal export facility. I assure you, however, that we are carefully reviewing all of the issues under our authority, and that I will do all that I can within the context of existing Oregon law to ensure that we do not commit ourselves to a coal-dependent future.

Furthermore, I have asked my staff to develop proposals for the 2015 Oregon Legislature that, going forward, will assure that there is a comprehensive public review of the costs and benefits of significant development proposals like the coal export facilities now on the drawing boards…

“Oregon law is only limited if you interpret it narrowly,” quips Nicholas Caleb, an attorney, professor at Cascadia University and a recent City Council candidate.

The question remains whether new and comprehensive statewide environmental laws are necessary or whether the Governor could exercise significantly more authority within Oregon’s existing legal framework.

In any case, join Rising Tide and allies to give the Gov a push.

Full text of the address can be viewed here.

Vancouver City Council Meeting, June 2, 7pm

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick/
Image courtesy of Victor Habbick/

The City’s oil terminal resolution will be on the agenda.  Here are all of the details from Don Steinke with the Sierra Club Beyond Coal and Oil Task Force in Vancouver:

We need overflow crowds and more speakers to let the city council know we support the two resolutions they are considering:

  • one to intervene in the EFSEC proceeding,
  • one to oppose the proposed oil terminals at the Port of Vancouver and elsewhere.

Let them know who you are, why you care, and that you support both resolutions. This meeting will be a crucial turning point in our fight to stop the oil terminal from being approved – the time for action is June 2! The 6:30 p.m. meeting is at the Hilton. Parking is free in the parking lot west of City Hall (corner of 6th and Esther).

Additional meeting details and how to sign up to testify:

WHAT: City of Vancouver to vote on resolutions against dangerous oil terminals at the Port of Vancouver and elsewhere.

WHERE: Vancouver Hilton Convention Center – Heritage Ballroom, by Esther Short Park, 301 W 6th St, Vancouver, WA, 98660

WHEN: Monday, June 2nd, 6:30 pm
WHY: To voice your support for both of the Vancouver City Council resolutions on oil.

PARKING: In parking lot west of City Hall (415 W. 6th St)

We think it would be very effective for 100 people to come to the mic just to say your name and that you support bothcity council resolutions.

The two undeclared councilmembers don’t need more facts, they just need to know where their community stands.

The public will be allowed to give testimony up to 2 or 3 minutes in length. Please sign-up ahead of time to speak. Send an email directly to and provide:

Your full name,
street address,
telephone number,
topics of interest (EFSEC Intervener Resolution and/or Council Policy Resolution),
and stance on the topics (if you are opposed to the oil terminal then say you are in favor of both resolutions).

Emails will be taken up to 2 pm on Monday June 2nd. In-person testimony sign-up will also be taken Monday evening.

An overflow crowd makes a strong statement. Please promote attendance by posting this invitation on Facebook.

More info here:

This could be a celebration. See you there.

Don Steinke
— on behalf of the many volunteers in the Sierra Club Beyond Coal and Oil Task Force in Vancouver

EFSEC Returns to Vancouver, May 28, 6 pm

Clark County Public Services Building, 6th floor

EFSEC– Washington State’s Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council–  is coming to to study whether the oil terminal complies with Vancouver’s zoning laws and land use plans.

Many downtown Vancouver businesses and developers argue that the oil terminal does not comply with the City’s land use plan called the Waterfront Development Project.

Vancouver City Hall Public Forum, May 12, 6:30p

Vancouver activists are seeking 50 people to respond to the input the City Council received last week from Tesoro Savage about how safe they are.

We urge the City of Vancouver to actively oppose all projects which would increase oil train traffic through Vancouver.

Talking points include:

  • Safety and risks are not just about the Tesoro Savage oil terminal.  They are  also about the oil trains.  When Tesoro says it will use only the safest cars, remind yourselves that the BNSF doesn’t think those cars are very safe.

On April 22, the Columbian reported that a rail industry representative testified before the NTSB saying “None of the tank cars currently in service carrying Bakken Crude (are) adequate for carrying that product.”  Bakken Crude contains more dissolved propane than regular crude and can thus be ignited by a spark more easily than regular crude.

 The rail industry wants the federal government to establish regulations for a safer next generation rail car, but it will take ten years remove the old fleet and replace it updated, safer models..

  • We urge the City of Vancouver to oppose not only the Tesoro Savage Oil Terminal, but to also oppose the NuStar terminal in Vancouver, the Shell Refinery terminal in Skagit County, the 3 terminals in Grays Harbor, and the oil terminal expansion in Clatskanie. ( Already three terminals have been approved in the Puget Sound area without even so much as an Environmental Impact Statement. )
  • We urge the City of Vancouver to ask Governor Inslee to direct DOE to assume joint lead agency status with Skagit County and require an EIS process.  We urge the City of Vancouver to submit a scoping comment to DOE regarding the Grays Harbor terminals.  The city could easily adapt or just send in  its Tesoro Savage scoping comment.

Coal Export Developer Challenges Tribal Claims To Fishing Sites On The Columbia

May 2, 2014 — OPB —  An Oregon coal export developer is challenging claims that its proposed dock on the Columbia River would interfere with tribal fishing sites.

The Confederated Tribes of The Umatilla Indian Reservation and the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation have submitted letters and affidavits to the Oregon Department of State Lands indicating they have tribal fishing sites in the area where Morrow Pacific has proposed to build a dock in Boardman, Oregon for coal barges.

The Morrow Pacific project, backed by Ambre Energy of Australia, would transport around 9 million tons of coal per year from Wyoming and Montana to Asia. The coal would be delivered by train to the dock site in Boardman, where it would be transferred to barges on the Columbia River. The barges would carry the coal to another dock site downstream near Clatskanie, Oregon where the coal would be transferred onto ocean-going ships.

The project needs a permit from the DSL to build a dock at the Port of Morrow in Boardman. DSL rules say the state can issue the permit as long as the action would not “unreasonably interfere” with preservation of water for navigation, fishing and public recreation.

The company submitted a letter to the state Thursday arguing that its dock will not “unreasonably interfere” with fishing. It also argues that considering fishing impacts from the dock is outside the DSL’s authority for this permit.

Brian Gard, a spokesman for Morrow Pacific, says the company disagrees that tribes have proven their members fish at the dock site. He says the affidavits submitted to the state either misidentify the site geographically or they fail to show that tribal fishing has taken place in the dock location.

More Here

Open post

Wash. Port Releases New Lease Details For Oil-by-Rail Terminal

May 1, 2014 — The Columbian —  The Port of Vancouver on Wednesday released an updated version of its lease for the Northwest’s largest oil-by-rail transfer terminal, featuring fewer censored details but maintaining redactions of key issues the port considers sensitive.

The port released the updated version of its lease (429 pages in electronic format) with Tesoro Corp. and Savage Companies in response to multiple requests made in April by various parties, including the Columbian and The Oregonian newspapers, Theresa Wagner, the port’s communications manager, said Wednesday.

In the original version of the lease, the port had kept secret a total of 22 pieces of information. In the updated rendition, the port revealed 11 of those 22 pieces of information, Wagner said.

One revelation: The port is allowed to terminate the lease if Tesoro and Savage fail to launch construction within four months after both parties are presumed to have fulfilled certain other contractual obligations.

Previously, the port had censored the companies’ construction timeline.

More Here


File photo of proposed site for an oil-by-rail terminal in Vancouver, Washington. | credit: Port of Vancouver USA

Portland Global Climate Convergence Action

by Hart Noecker • Mismanaging Perception • April 28, 2014 • Earlier today, as part of the Global Climate Convergence, activists with Portland Rising Tide staged a direct action in the lobby of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality in protest of the agency’s complacency with corporate polluters poisoning the planet.

Governor Kitzhaber and his agencies including the State Land Board, DEQ, DSL, and ODOT have been complicit in issuing permits for coal and oil terminals in Oregon. Now they are being asked to approve the west coast’s first Natural Gas export terminal and a 350+ mile pipeline to Coos Bay, OR.

This action was held in conjunction with the Global Climate Convergence; an international call for “10 days to change course” between Earth Day and May Day; marked with direct actions and demonstrations highlighting the joint struggles of labor and climate justice.

There were many onlookers in the windows above the action. While security and police were present, they did not intervene, nor did they make any threats of arrest or violence. Raw video appears below.


Action links:

Unpermitted Oil Terminal Seeks DEQ Approval

Blog post by Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky, Columbia Riverkeeper; Phot0 by Rob Davis, The Oregonian

March 21, 2014. The oil terminal along the Columbia River at Port Westward has been operating outside the law by moving more explosive Bakken crude oil than their current air pollution permit allows. According to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the crude oil company Global Partners (aka “the Columbia Pacific Biorefinery”) violated air quality laws by moving nearly four times more crude oil than their permit allows.

Global Partners is now applying for a new permit with DEQ to bring 1.8 billion gallons of oil annually through Columbia County, enough to fill 50 trains per month. Submit a comment about Global’s attempt to increase crude oil train traffic.

 Public Hearing

DEQ is holding a public hearing on April 3 for the new permit.

Can’t attend the hearing? DEQ is holding a public comment period on the air pollution permit through 5:00PM on Friday, April 11. Submit your comment today!

Recent oil spills and train explosions pose serious threats to rail communities. Last year, 47 people were killed in Lac Megantic, Quebec, when a unit train of crude oil, identical to those traveling to Port Westward, from the Bakken region derailed and exploded. Additional derailments and explosions in Alabama and North Dakota of Bakken crude oil trains have raised alarms at local, state and federal levels across the nation, including a moratorium on new crude oil infrastructure in Albany, New York, where Global Partners operates a Bakken crude oil terminal.

Click here for an in-depth report from The Oregonian

4 Hurt, 400 Evacuated After Explosion At Wash. LNG Plant

March 31, 2014 — AP Newswire

Plymouth, WA  —  Authorities now say one of the four injured in an explosion and fire at a natural gas processing plant along the Washington-Oregon border was sent to a hospital in Portland, Ore., with burns.

The other three were treated for minor injuries at a hospital in Hermiston, Ore.

Monday morning’s blast at the Williams Northwest Pipeline liquefied natural gas facility in the town of Plymouth, WA, shook nearby homes and led to the evacuation of about 400 residents.

A deputy says the evacuation could last overnight.

Benton County, Wash., Sheriff Steven Keane says plans call for sending up a helicopter for a better look at the damage to the plant.

Keane says a Washington State Patrol bomb squad robot equipped with video also will be sent in, because of safety concerns.

PRT Benefit Show!

A Night of Eclectic Musical performances by Turtle, Spider Moccasin Folk Ensemble and Very Rare Artifacts!

Support our brave activists working to stop the megaloads in Eastern Oregon and locally!

Saturday, January 25 at 9:00pm

Laughing Horse Book and Film Collective

12 NE 10th Ave, Portland

Come and learn how you can get more involved and talk to activists who have been involved in the exciting work of the anti-megaload campaign!

All proceeds will benefit Portland Rising Tide and the ongoing anti-megaload campaign.

Suggested $5 minimum donation.

Maybe check fbSee you there!

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