Vancouver firefighters oppose oil terminal at port

Port of Vancouver terminal would be nation's largest oil-by-rail terminal

A Vancouver first responder holds up a sign opposing the Port of Vancouver oil terminal, Oct. 13, 2015 (KOIN)
A Vancouver first responder holds up a sign opposing the Port of Vancouver oil terminal, Oct. 13, 2015 (KOIN)

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — The president of the Vancouver Fire Association announced Tuesday the union is “adamantly opposed” to a proposed oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver.

The issue has been in the public eye since 2013 and the state of Washington will make a recommendaiton on the proposal by November 24.

Vancouver Fire Union president Mark Johnson, Oct. 13, 2015 (KOIN)
Vancouver Fire Union president Mark Johnson, Oct. 13, 2015 (KOIN)

Hundreds of jobs could be created if the terminal is built, but the firefighters with the union are concerned.  Union president Mark Johnson said the fire department doesn’t have the proper equipment, training or staff to “effectively mitigate” an emergency.

“A disaster down here would be catastrophic,” Johnson said. “Our members are not risk adverse.”

According to the state, the Tesoro-Savage Terminal could bring in 360,000 barrels of crude oil every day.

“Oil trains come through Vancouver anyway, on their way up to Seattle, and if it’s something that we can use to bring more jobs and economic benefit to Southwest Washington, that’s something we’re interested in doing as an economic engine,” said Port of Vancouver spokesperson Magan Reed.

“We do want to this project,” she said. “but we want this project if it’s going to be done safely.”

In August, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says a plan to build the nation’s largest oil-by-rail terminal does not comply with the federal Clean Water Act, and that a key permit for the project should be withheld until its risks are addressed.

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