Portland Mayor Charlie Hales has withdrawn his support for a proposed propane export terminal on the Columbia River.
That's bad news for the $500 million project proposed by Pembina Pipeline Corp. of Canada. The project needs a zone change from the city of Portland. The issue is scheduled to come before the city council June 10.
The mayor had previously welcomed the investment and jobs that would come from the project. But on Thursday the mayor called on the company to withdraw its proposal because he's now convinced it doesn't meet the city's environmental standards.
In a statement, the mayor said he reached that conclusion after talking with Portlanders, studying public testimony on the project at earlier Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission meetings and discussing the proposal with colleagues inside city hall and in the business community.
"From the beginning, I said Portland welcomes this investment because we are committed to growing our economy and holding industry to very high environmental and public safety standards," Hales said. "I do not believe Pembina has made the case as far as Portland's environmental standards are concerned. And for that reason, I am asking Pembina to withdraw."
The proposed terminal would be capable of handling 1.6 million gallons a day of liquid propane, delivered by train from a Pembina gas processing facility in Alberta, Canada. It would be held in refrigerated storage tanks and piped onto ships bound for Asia.
The pipeline running from the propane storage tanks to the ships would have to cross an environmental overlay zone where gas pipelines are currently prohibited. To build the project, the company needs the city to allow propane to be piped through the environmental zone.
Last month, after many hours of testimony, the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission voted 6-4 to recommended the zone change.
The commission heard loud opposition from environmentalists who argued propane export is a dirty business tied to fracking for fossil fuels and harmful greenhouse gas emissions.