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Vancouver Approves Ethanol Terminal Without Crude Oil

<p>The railroad tracks at the Port of Vancouver where oil would be off loaded.<br /><br /></p>

Conrad Wilson

The railroad tracks at the Port of Vancouver where oil would be off loaded.

An oil-by-rail terminal in Vancouver is off the table. The city approved a plan by the company NuStar that would allow it to ship and store ethanol, under the condition that it drop its proposal to handle crude oil.

Two years ago, NuStar proposed a plan to handle 22,000 barrels of oil a day. But the company wanted the city of Vancouver to allow it without doing an environmental impact statement. After the city refused, NuStar switched gears — deciding to move forward with a plan to store and export ethanol instead.

That plan was recently approved, with the understanding that oil never enter the picture.

“I think it is a signal,” said Dan Serres, conservation director with the nonprofit Columbia Riverkeeper. “It is a clear statement from the city that Vancouver wants better opportunities than very dangerous oil-by-rail facilities.”

City policies also make clear that NuStar would not be able to pursue an oil terminal in the future. Last year, Vancouver passed a ban on future crude oil storage facilities.

A decision on another Vancouver oil terminal, by Tesoro-Savage, is still pending, with an announcement expected later this year.

NuStar has until April 5 to appeal the decision.

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Molly Solomon