Processing Magazine

Washington State suspends permits for oil-train terminals

October 16, 2013

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Washington state officials have decided to reject permits for two major oil-train terminals in Southwest Washington, concluding that the projects should go through more environmental scrutiny, the Seattle Times reported.

According to a letter that the Shorelines Hearings Board issued Wednesday, the permits for Westway Terminal Co. and Imperium Terminal Services will be revoked. The two companies want to construct and operate two oil shipping terminals at the Port of Grays Harbor, with the capacity to store up to 1.5 million barrels of crude shipped from North Dakota and Alberta.

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Originally, the permits were issued by the city of Hoquiam in the spring of 2012, when officials working together with Washington's Ecology Department decided that the proposals were unlikely to have a notable negative effect on the environment.

However, that decision was appealed by a number of groups, including the Quinault Indian Nation and the Sierra Club. The Shorelines Hearings Board stated in its letter that the department and city officials had failed to take into consideration the cumulative effect of having two terminals running and a third one planned in the vicinity. The board agreed to revoke the permits and suspend operations until further research on the environmental impact has been carried out. In addition, the board noted that the effects of increased train and vessel traffic associated with the proposed terminals should be taken into account, along with the consequences of a possible oil spill, the newspaper said.