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Companies promise open oil terminal process

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — The companies planning a $110 million terminal at the Port of Vancouver to handle trains carrying oil from North Dakota have promised residents the permit process would be transparent and the facility would be a good neighbor.

The presentation to about 100 people on Monday night was met with some skepticism. About 20 people opponents demonstrated outside over environmental and safety concerns, The Columbian reported. Tesoro Corp. and Savage Cos. plan a terminal that would handle as much as 380,000 barrels of crude oil a day for shipment to U.S. refineries.

Protesters carried anti-oil signs and voiced fears about possible spills on the Columbia River, impacts on Vancouver’s waterfront redevelopment, climate change and the safety of hauling oil by rail in light of July’s fiery oil train disaster in Canada.

The companies plan state-of-the-art safety measures, including double-hulled oil tankers and systems to capture all vapors, said Dan Riley, vice president of government affairs for Tesoro.

“Everything will be contained,” he said.

The Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council will review the proposal for a year or more and make a recommendation to Gov. Jay Inslee, who has the final say.

The process will be open and include public comment, Riley said.

“We want to be transparent,” he said.

The project will generate about 250 temporary construction jobs and 120 full-time jobs while boosting tax revenue for Vancouver and the state. Backers also say the terminal supports U.S. energy independence.

“We don’t look at moving into a community as something that’s just a way to make money,” Kirk Aubry, president and chief operating officer for Savage Companies, told the crowd in the Hydson’s Bay High School cafeteria.

Port of Vancouver commissioners approved a lease with Tesoro and Savage in July, despite public testimony overwhelmingly against it.

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