Port of Longview to build oil refinery they definitely weren’t negotiating with
The first new oil refinery on the West Coast in 25 years could be built in Longview Washington. Back in April, the Columbia Riverkeeper released undisclosed documents detailing Riverside Energy's presentation on a new 45,000 barrel/day facility. The Port originally downplayed the scenario. Port spokeswomen Ashley Helenberg said that talks had gone “dormant”, emphasizing “that not all proposals become projects.”
Likewise, Riverside Energy CEO Louis J. Soumas said his company was “engaged in discussions with a variety of locations in the two states in its pursuit of a place to build such a facility.”
The project could bring in roughly 10 Bakken oil trains-per-month, the same type of oil that has been exploding in train accidents across the country. After being refined, an array of petroleum products, mostly car and jet fuel, would be shipped out through the Columbia River. This comes at a time when the Northwest’s largest river is already being hit with a barrage of oil and coal export projects.
The Millennium Bulk Terminal could ship up to 44 million ton of coal per-year. This could bring 16 mile-long coal trains from Montana and Wyoming through Spokane and SW Washington. Texas oil giant Tesoro has a proposal to built a 360,000 barrels/day facility in Vancouver, WA. If built it would be the largest oil facility in the nation. The Port of Portland, despite fervent opposition from residents and the mayor, is considering a propane facility that would run trains through the heart of town.
At Port Westward, just 10 miles across the river from the Longview proposal, the former biofuels facility turned oil terminal, just submitted permits to bring in over 110,000 barrels/day. This coming after it violated previous permits by bringing in 4 times more oil than it was allowed.
If oil and coal companies have their way, the Columbia River Basin could soon be what many have called an “Industry Sacrifice Zone”. The Longview Riverside Refinery is just one of many potential projects for the region. But this situation is emblematic of a larger trend. Public organizations like the port are colluding with companies to shroud these projects in secrecy. Thankfully Northwesterners of all stripes are speaking out and keeping a watchful eye on our region.