Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Concerns About EIS Process Credibility- here and in Canada

Foes see partiality in oil terminal review process

State's choice to help evaluate Tesoro-Savage documents has worked for Tesoro

The Columbian        By Aaron Corvin and Erin Middlewood   

Ever since Tesoro Corp. and Savage Companies proposed an oil-by-rail terminal at the Port of Vancouver, company and port officials have said that the state energy facility siting panel's rigorous review would address threats to safety or the environment.

Critics aren't so sure. One concern: the initial draft analysis of the oil terminal's impacts was written by consultants hired by the Tesoro-Savage joint venture. Another concern: the company hired by the Washington state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council to help check that analysis has previously worked for Tesoro.

The analysis, called an environmental impact statement, is important because the siting council draws on it, along with a series of court-like proceedings, to make a recommendation to the governor. That official has the final say on whether to approve the oil terminal, which would receive an average 360,000 barrels a day. It may be years before the council finishes its work and the governor makes a decision. Even then, that ruling will be subject to appeal to the state Supreme Court.

Some experts say that such lopsided corporate involvement in an environmental impact study creates a bias in favor of the project applicant. "It's par for the course in the corruption of the environmental analysis process in the United States," said John Echeverria, a national expert on environmental law and a professor at Vermont Law School. "The concern is that a consultant will have greater loyalty to project proponents than to the agency. It's not likely to be a document that serves the public well, but rather the interests of project proponents."..... read more here

Audit at a Glance here

1 comment:

  1. As in Washington, Governor Inslee's rail safety study, managed and advised through the Dept. of Ecology by whom? BNSF former employees/executives. Do you suppose that is biased...and the money pitched in by this state to make the rails safe for carrying crude to our Ports is outrageous, egregious! When I started reading that long and laborious report--it didn't take long to figure which way the wind was blowing and it was not in the direction of "no crude by rail." So it goes. The public statements are made by we the concerned, but do not carry so much weight as the Dept. of Ecology who (it feels like) is working for the other team.