Month long hearing for the nation's largest oil train terminal t - KPTV - FOX 12

Month long hearing for the nation's largest oil train terminal to be in Vancouver begins

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Location of the proposed oil transfer facility. (KPTV) Location of the proposed oil transfer facility. (KPTV)

A month-long series of hearings to discuss the proposal to build the nation’s largest oil-by-train marine terminal in Vancouver kicked off Monday.

The first day of the hearing for proposed Tesoro-Savage Oil Terminal brought out hundreds of protesters hoping to stop the project from going forward.

The hearings come just 24 days after the oil train derailment and fire in Mosier.

Many experts credit the lack of wind and easy access for firefighters as reasons the Mosier fire relatively easy to fight. A Skamania County fire official warned, though, that with the Vancouver proposal there is no firefighter access to five miles of the rail line in his district alone.

"If you had a derailment and subsequent fire like we had in Mosier, that fire would literally burn uncontrolled in that five miles of track, and that's unacceptable from our perspective," Skamania Co Fire District #4 Commissioner Tim Young said.

Supporters of the project said they will address the safety concerns and also claim the terminal would reduce foreign oil imports by 30 percent while creating 176 jobs in Clark County.

“Those direct jobs support over one thousand jobs in the area,” Vancouver Energy General Manager Jared Larrabe said. “That's over $2 billion in economic value add, and over 1.6 of that is direct to labor. So, this is a very positive project for Vancouver and Clark County, generally.”

Over the next five weeks both sides will present their arguments to a state energy panel. That panel will then make its recommendation to Governor Jay Inslee, who will have the final say.

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