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Oil And More: Longview Energy Company Proposes Expansion

<p>The Port of Longview is the state's third largest port, after Seattle and Tacoma.</p>

Allison Frost/OPB


The Port of Longview is the state's third largest port, after Seattle and Tacoma.

An energy company wants to build a transfer terminal in Longview, Washington that could handle liquefied petroleum gas and crude oil, according to documents reviewed Friday by OPB.

The project is an expansion on an already proposed oil refinery for Longview.

The documents were obtained by Columbia River Keeper through a public records request. They describe an “off-load and transfer terminal” at the Port of Longview that could handle up to two unit trains per day.

Lou Soumas, CEO for Waterside Energy, the company behind the proposal, said they’ll outline the plans at a public meeting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in Longview.

"What we’re hoping to accomplish,” Soumas said, “is for the commissioners and the public to see the breadth of the opportunity for Longview, and to see that we’ve worked out plans that will advantage the community and properly use the port’s already existing infrastructure.”

Soumas said the documents are from a previous version of the proposal, and don’t reflect current plans. He declined to give details about the expanded project ahead of next week’s public meeting.

Soumas said the terminal and refinery would operate separately, but "would share certain portions of the port's infrastructure."

The proposed expansion of the yet-to-be-built project brings up concerns raised by environmental groups in the past.

Waterside's proposed refinery includes a biofuels component, which Soumas has said is aimed at the region's burgeoning clean fuels market. But the expansion of the project underscores the concerns of critics, who have said the focus of the project is less on cleaner fuels and more about capitalizing on North American oil production.

In June, Eric de Place, policy director for the Seattle-based think tank Sightline Institute, called the project "a stalking horse for the conventional oil industry."

Port of Longview spokeswoman Ashley Helenberg said the Port is eager to work with Waterside.

"It has to, of course, go through the vetting process," she said by phone late Friday. "As soon as we can bring that before (Port) commission and before the community that process can get started."

Helenberg also declined to provide specifics of the expanded project, but said the documents from River Keeper were old and that the proposal had changed.

"I seriously can't even tell you," she said. "They could be exporting unicorns. It's a completely outdated proposal."

Editor's Note: This article originally incorrectly identified the nature of the potential terminal expansion. Documents describe it as a liquefied petroleum gas and crude oil transfer terminal.

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Conrad Wilson, Tony Schick