Vancouver City Council votes to block future oil terminals

Ordinance forbids all crude oil facilities in the city's industrial zone

The Vancouver City Council voted to block all future oil terminals in the region, July 18, 2016. (KOIN)

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — After many meetings, public testimony and protests, the Vancouver City Council voted to ban all future oil terminals in the region.

The council unanimously voted in favor of an ordinance that forbids all crude oil facilities in the city’s industrial zone, which is expected to have a major effect on proposals already in the works.

Crowds of citizens marched outside city hall Monday afternoon, urging councilmembers to keep oil terminals from being set up nearby. Arguments pitted jobs against the environment, an economic boost against safety and the Port of Vancouver against the city itself.

A key talking point was the massive oil train derailment in Mosier earlier this summer.

“That oil train derailed and caught on fire 600 feet from Mosier Community School,” Mosier resident Maria McCormick said. “These are predictable catastrophes.”

Officials with the Port of Vancouver recently spoke in favor of the oil terminal, saying it would bring jobs to the region and that measures would be taken to ensure safety.

But the plan hit a big snag Monday night following the city council’s vote.

“The city council has made an important step forward in helping to keep Vancouver and the surrounding communities safe,” Deborah Romerein said. “We’re hoping this sends a conclusive message to Gov. Inslee that this… has got to stop.”

The ordinance will now head to Gov. Inslee’s desk for approval.