It’s déjà vu all over again! In December 2013, Safe Shippers sent letters to Washington State Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council asking them to study the possible impacts of the proposed Tesoro Savage crude oil shipping terminal on the Columbia River — impacts specific to San Juan Islanders. Same project, same problems — but this time our concerns will be addressed to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Let’s tell the Other Washington that what happens on the Columbia River affects the San Juan Islands, too.
Your letters are important! Talking points are provided below, but please put any concerns you have over this project into your own words. You can never go wrong — and the letters will be even more effective that way.
WHAT’S THE PROJECT?
Tesoro Savage Petroleum Terminal (aka Vancouver Energy) in Vancouver WA proposes transporting 360,000 barrels of crude oil daily along the Columbia River by rail and then ships. The terminal on the Columbia River would receive crude oil and other petroleum products from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota by rail through Spokane, the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, and into the City of Vancouver where it will be transferred to marine vessels — oil tankers and oil barges. If built, this will be the largest crude-by-rail-to-vessel facility in the U.S. These vessels will need propulsion fuel, and that’s likely to come from Washington State refineries in Rosario Strait.
WHY DO ISLANDERS CARE?
• Getting propulsion fuel from our State refineries will mean increasing vessel traffic in our waters — and increasing the risk of oil spills.
• The construction and operation of a new terminal, along with its increase in shipping traffic on the Columbia River, have the potential to negatively impact the salmon population at one of the feeding grounds of our Southern Resident Orcas. Fishing locations for tribes, and commercial and recreational fishermen, will also be adversely impacted.
WHAT DO SAFE SHIPPERS ASK?
We ask the Army Corps of Engineers to please thoroughly study the following:
• What would be the adverse impacts from the proposed crude oil transport terminal to the Southern Resident Orca Whales that spend time at the mouth of the Columbia River where they are feeding on upper Columbia and Snake River Chinook salmon?
• What would be the adverse impacts to Chinook salmon from the construction and the on-going operation of the proposed Tesoro Savage Petroleum Terminal LLC and associated rail lines, docks, ship loaders, storage facilities, conveyors, and equipment?
• What would be the cumulative adverse impacts to Chinook salmon from the increased vessel traffic associated with the Tesoro Savage Petroleum Terminal LLC and all other proposed fossil fuel terminal projects in the Columbia River?
• What would be the adverse impacts including the increased risk of a major oil spill from the increased bunkering-related vessel traffic adjacent to the waters of San Juan County?
• What would be the loss of property values and what would be the loss of tourism, real estate sales, and housing construction related tax revenue from a single major oil spill in San Juan County; from multiple moderately-sized fuel spills over time; and from multiple small-sized fuel spills over time?
•Based on the tonnage of fossil fuel proposed to be transported and subsequently burned, what would be the impacts of increased ocean acidification in the waters of San Juan County: the costs of the increased ocean acidification’s impacts on recreational and commercial shellfish and fishing; the impacts to the spawning of shellfish for recreational and commercial harvest; and the impacts to the wildlife that feed on shellfish?
•Based on the barrels of crude oil proposed to be transported and subsequently burned, what would be the impacts of the acceleration of Climate Change to San Juan County: the costs from associated increased storm winds, ocean surges, and precipitation; the cost and impacts due to sea level rise; the adverse impacts to San Juan County’s public roads, docks, etc. located on or near the shoreline with sea level rise; and the adverse impacts to San Juan County’s private development located on or near the shoreline?
HOW/WHEN TO COMMENT:
Comment Deadline: Saturday, August 1, 2015
Please include this information in the reference line of your letter/e-mail: Ref. No. NWS-2013-962; Tesoro Savage Petroleum Terminal, LLC
Mail: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Regulatory Branch, Attention: Steven Manlow, P.O. Box 3755, Seattle, Washington 98124-3755
“Stand Up to Oil” Campaign Tesoro Savage fact sheet:
“Stand Up to Oil” Campaign information on oil terminals:
Satellite Tracking of Southern Resident Killer Whales:
Sightline article: “How Tesoro Manipulates Washington State Politics”
Sightline article: “Columbia River Ship Traffic: the Impact of Coal and Oil Plans”