Port of Vancouver Votes to Cancel Oil Terminal Lease


Vancouver Commission votes unanimously to end the Tesoro Savage oil train terminal proposal


Kristen Boyles, Earthjustice, (206) 930-6660 

Rebecca Ponzio, Stand Up to Oil Campaign, (206) 240-0493

Dan Serres, Columbia Riverkeeper, (503) 890-2441 

Michael Lang, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, (503) 490-3979


Today the Port of Vancouver Commission voted unanimously to end the Tesoro Savage oil train terminal proposal in Vancouver, Washington. Port of Vancouver Commissioner President Eric LaBrant issued the motion to exercise a clause which cancels the lease for the terminal effective March 31, 2018. The Commission took the vote in front of an overflow crowd, with many audience members testifying in support of the Port’s decision to terminate the largest oil-by-rail terminal proposal in North America.

Don Steinke, a local leader in the campaign to stop the oil train terminal, said, “Since 2013, we have urged the Port to protect clean air, clean water, and our children’s future. This is why the community elected Eric LaBrant and Don Orange to the Port Commission. This is the right decision for the community and the Port.”

“The people of Vancouver have repeatedly signaled their emphatic opposition to a terminal that would bring up to five loaded oil trains each day through downtown Vancouver,” said Dan Serres, Conservation Director of Columbia Riverkeeper. “Today’s vote honors the will of the people to move Vancouver towards a cleaner future that works for everyone, not just oil companies.”

“Today’s vote highlights what people here and across the Pacific Northwest have been saying for years. We will not become just another polluted oil town,” said Rebecca Ponzio, director of Stand Up To Oil Campaign. “This should be a signal for communities across the country, the oil industry does not get to decide your future. Together, people are always more powerful than the money of oil companies.”

“Last November, the people of Vancouver spoke loud and clear by electing Don Orange for Port Commissioner,” said Shannon Murphy, President Washington Conservation Voters. “Today’s vote shows why this community stood up for safe healthy neighborhoods and good clean jobs, and won’t sacrifice their future for the oil industry’s profits.”

Linda Garcia, a leader in the Fruit Valley Neighborhood, stated, “The Port lies within the boundaries of our neighborhood, and every decision made by the Commission impacts us greatly. We deeply appreciate them taking this action to protect us from a proposal that would have harmed our health, safety, and the livability of this place we love and proudly call home.”

“This oil-by-rail proposal is a disaster waiting to happen,” said Dr. Beth Lee, a family practice physician from Clark County. “Why would we put our homes, schools, and communities at risk? Now it’s time for Gov. Inslee to say NO to this dangerous project.”

“This massive oil-by-rail terminal was a direct threat to the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and every community along the rail lines,” said Michael Lang, Conservation Director for Friends of the Columbia Gorge. “The Port listened to the concerns raised by Vancouver residents and made the right decision to terminate the lease.”

“There is no need for the Tesoro-Savage oil terminal project,” said Kristen Boyles, the Earthjustice attorney who represented environmental and community groups during the EFSEC process. “The Port Commissioners acted in the best interests of all of us, looking to the future, not a dirty fuels past.”

“This community has tirelessly resisted this project over the last few years, showing up to countless public hearings and organizing to elect a port commission that shares their values,” said Cecile Gernez, Conservation Organizer with The Sierra Club Washington State Chapter. “It’s never been more important to fight against the special interests that would saddle our cities and towns with dangerous, polluting fossil fuel projects. This decision is proof: when we organize and fight together, we win.”

Read more about the Tesoro Savage proposal here.

Next Steps

  • In 2017, the Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) voted unanimously to recommend rejection of the state’s site certificate for the Tesoro Savage proposal. 
  • Once the EFSEC Report and Recommendation is final, Governor Inslee will have 60 days to make a final decision to approve or the deny project, which is expected in the upcoming weeks. Judicial appeals from the Governor’s decision must be filed in Thurston County Superior Court and direct review to the Washington Supreme Court may be sought and is likely. 

Tesoro Savage EFSEC Process Timeline

  • August 2013: Initial Application submitted by Tesoro-Savage 
  • January 2014: Application amended by Tesoro-Savage 
  • May 2014: Land Use Consistency Hearing 
  • December 2014: Tesoro preliminary EIS found inadequate 
  • January 2015: Application amended by Tesoro-Savage 
  • January 2015: Adjudication process officially commenced 
  • November 2015: DEIS released for public comment 
  • May 2016: Application amended by Tesoro-Savage 
  • June-July 2016: Adjudication 
  • October 2016: Application amended by Tesoro-Savage 
  • October 2016: Stormwater Construction Permit released for public comment 
  • May 2017: Notice of Construction Air Permit released for public comment 
  • July 2017: Industrial Stormwater Permit released for public comment 
  • November 2017: FEIS released 
  • December 2017: Recommendation released 
  • January 9, 2018: Port moves to rescind the lease 
More than 100 community members took part in the "Stand Up to Oil Rally" on July 29.
More than 100 community members took part in the "Stand Up to Oil Rally" on July 29, to voice their concerns about the project. (Courtesy of Columbia Riverkeeper)

Additional Resources

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