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Judge Chides Vancouver Port Over Oil-Terminal Project


The loop track at the Port of Vancouver where crude oil would be offloaded from trains and then transferred onto ocean-going vessels on the Columbia River.

The loop track at the Port of Vancouver where crude oil would be offloaded from trains and then transferred onto ocean-going vessels on the Columbia River.

Conrad Wilson/OPB

A judge has chided the Port of Vancouver for contacting Gov. Jay Inslee about a proposed massive oil-handling facility in southwest Washington.

The judge for the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council wrote in a Wednesday letter that the port’s letter to the governor appears to be “improper communication.”

The port approved a lease in 2013 for Tesoro Corp. and Savage Cos., operating as Vancouver Energy, to build a rail-to-marine oil transfer terminal along the Columbia River that can handle an average 360,000 barrels of crude per day.

The Columbian newspaper says port CEO Todd Coleman wrote to Inslee this month expressing frustration over delays in the project’s review. The letter was also copied to the council’s chairman, Bill Lynch.

Because Lynch and Inslee are decision makers in evaluating the project, Judge Cassandra Noble asked parties to avoid contacting them outside that process.

A port spokeswoman says the port is reviewing the judge’s letter.

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