Canadian Oil Going By Rail Through Washington To Portland Before Shipping To Asia
In the long run, Canada wants to expand its Trans Mountain pipeline to move oil from the Alberta tar sands west to British Columbia — and from there onto ships that would travel through the Salish Sea and then to Asia.
But that expansion has yet to begin. And oil producers have instead begun shipping that oil by rail to Portland and loading it onto vessels for export.
Portland exported more than 240,000 barrels of oil to China in January, according to a report by Bloomberg.
But it’s far from clear that oil producers see oil-by-rail and the Willamette and Columbia rivers as part of their long-term strategy.
“My read on all this is it can’t be a large new route to get oil to Asia. What this looks like is a test shipment,” said Clark Williams-Derry, who studies energy markets for the Sightline Institute, a Seattle-based think tank.
Williams-Derry said shipping oil overseas through Portland is not economical. It’s likely an attempt to establish a new market.
State regulators say the oil is moving through the Zenith Energy terminal on the Willamette River. The facility was an asphalt plant until four years ago when it was purchased by Arc Logistics and quietly began accepting shipments of crude oil by rail. It was acquired by Zenith in December.
It is the only facility in Portland accepting those Canadian crude shipments and transloading them, Oregon Department of Transportation spokeswoman Shelley Snow said. She said the agency’s hazardous materials inspectors are aware of the shipments and regularly inspect the area.
Train shipments of Canadian oil have been moving through the Northwest since as early as 2015, but the use of those shipments to facilitate exports to China appears to be a new development. Overall, oil train shipments have dipped after reaching unprecedented levels between 2013 and 2015.
A 2016 fiery derailment, crash and spill involving an oil train in the Columbia Gorge town of Mosier, Oregon, generated headlines and raised public awareness about the risks of what critics have dubbed “train bombs” and “rolling pipelines.”
The pipeline was a topic of conversation Friday during a gathering of leaders of British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California to discuss regional cooperation around climate change and other issues.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee used the forum to express his support for British Columbia’s resistance to the expanded pipeline.
“The oil pollution risk would increase significantly,” Inslee said. “And we have serious questions whether it really makes sense to be making such massive investments in fossil fuel infrastructure given the fact that we know we’re going to have to wean ourselves off of fossil fuel-based fuels in the decades to come.”
KUOW/EarthFix reporter Eilís O’Neill contributed to this report.
Copyright 2018 EarthFix
When Vancouver hosted a modern expo in 1986, it joined the Northwest’s other major cities, Portland (1905), Seattle (1909, 1962) and Spokane (1974) as exposition hosts. In the years since Expo ’86, Vancouver’s has also gained important symbolism as the last expo hosted in North America. It was a kind of golden moment. Continue Reading Vancouver Expo ’86: Remembering Cascadia’s Last Great World’s Fair 35 Years Later
Attorneys for the family of a self-proclaimed anti-fascist protester who was gunned down by a federal task force outside Olympia last fall say the facts of the case as put forth by investigators “absolutely strain credulity.” Continue Reading Family Attorney Questions Police Narrative In Shooting Of Antifa Supporter Near Olympia
But an NPR analysis of more than 280 people charged in the Capitol insurrection reveals a far different picture of the attack than the one painted by this baseless conspiracy theory — and it comes from the perspective of the rioters themselves. The individuals charged for their alleged involvement on Jan. 6 show a dogged fixation on antifa, not unlike the right-wing media. More than 1 in 10 specifically mentioned antifa by name regarding Jan. 6 at some point before, during or after the riot, according to court documents. They spoke of antifa to law enforcement but also in text messages, on Facebook, Twitter and Parler, and to some of the people who ultimately turned them in to the FBI. Continue Reading No, Antifa Did Not Storm The Capitol On January 6. Just Ask The Rioters.