Friday, January 8, 2016

REG Abandons Crude Oil plans

Company Abandons Crude Oil as Part of Shipping Expansion Plan in Grays Harbor

Jan 6, 2016
Groups applaud decision, caution oil spill threats from two remaining proposals persistHoquiam, WA – One of the three companies proposing crude oil shipping terminals in Grays Harbor said it will abandon its plans to handle crude oil in comments submitted to state and local agencies in late November 2015. The company’s comments state “REG has concluded that its future plans at Grays Harbor do not include handling crude oil.” The Quinault Indian Nation, Stand Up To Oil campaign, and community groups are applauding REG’s decision, but say they will continue to closely monitor the company’s planned expansion of its existing terminal. Renewable Energy Group (REG), an Iowa-based company, purchased Imperium Terminal Services during the environmental review process.“REG’s decision is a strong affirmation the company took to heart the concerns of thousands of people who spoke out about the dangers of crude oil storage and transport to our communities and waterways,” said Fawn Sharp, President of the Quinault Indian Nation. “The Quinault Nation looks forward to working with REG and other businesses that share a vision for a sustainable future and together build an ever stronger Grays Harbor.”
“We are pleased that REG has listened to the people and made this decision.  Now we need to continue our fight to convince the other proponents that it is time to follow this lead and abandon their risky projects to bring crude oil to Grays Harbor,” said R.D. Grunbaum with the Stand Up To Oil campaign and Citizens for Clean Harbor. “We can have a healthy environment that allows our families to prosper and a strong economy without the risk of oil spills and accidents.”
REG’s Grays Harbor facility is one of the largest producers of biodiesel in the nation, a low-carbon, sustainable alternative to petroleum-based fuel. “We are excited to see REG’s commitment to growing the markets for sustainable fuels that will reduce pollution in the transportation sector,” said Ross Macfarlane, Senior Advisor for Climate Solutions, a Northwest Clean Economy non-profit.
The groups caution that there is still a long road ahead to protect communities and economically valuable waterways from the threat of oil train accidents and spills from oil trains, storage tanks, barges, and tankers. Two other crude oil proposals remain and REG has not yet provided details of the change in the company’s expansion plans.
State and local officials received more than 100,000 public comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Imperium and Westway terminals from Tribal, commercial and recreational fishermen, local elected officials, health professionals, scientists, conservation organizations, concerned citizens, faith organizations, and local, state, and federal agencies.
Designed to handle 78,000 barrels of crude per day, REG’s proposed terminal would have been the largest of three crude oil-by-rail facilities in Grays Harbor in the city of Hoquiam on the Washington Coast. For now, the permitting process for two additional proposals continues.
Facts about the value and risks of crude oil to the maritime economy of Grays Harbor:
  • An economic study commissioned by the Quinault Indian Nation found that a major oil spill could put more than 150 tribal commercial fishermen out of a job, resulting in a direct loss of as much as $20 million in wages and up to $70 million in revenue for affected businesses.
  • Marine resource jobs support more than 30% of Grays Harbor’s workforce according to a 2013 study by the University of Washington.
  • In 2014 Washington residents took an estimated 4.1 million trips to the Washington Coast spending $481 millionaccording to a recent study. More than one-third of those visits were to Grays Harbor County to enjoy its spectacular and productive coastal and ocean waters.
  • The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife stated “Grays Harbor is an area particularly sensitive to the adverse effects of oil spills.”
In addition to the now two proposals in Grays Harbor, there are also two more proposals for oil terminals in Vancouver, Washington, as well as a proposal to increase the oil by rail capacity of the Shell Oil Refinery in Anacortes. The U.S. Congress’s recent vote to lift the crude oil export ban adds another layer of urgency to the defeat of these proposals.
From the above link to REGs comment letter; while they are taking Crude off the list, the other liquids they hope to gain approval for are alarming:
This memorandum documents a preliminary review of the assumptions, methodologies and conclusions of potential transportation impacts and mitigation associated with the proposed Renewable Energy Group (REG) terminal expansion project (Project) at its existing biodiesel production and transport facility at the Port of Grays Harbor (Port) in Hoquiam, Washington. The objective of the Project is to expand the existing facility to receive and load bulk liquids in addition to those already permitted at the existing biodiesel production and transport facility. The proposed new bulk liquids include crude oil, ethanol, naphtha, gasoline, vacuum gas oil, jet fuel, no. 2 fuel oil, no. 6 fuel oil, kerosene, renewable jet fuel, renewable diesel, used cooking oil, and animal fat. 
These liquids would be used in the existing biodiesel production facilities by the applicant or unloaded, stored in the existing or proposed facilities, and loaded for rail and marine vessel transport. It is anticipated that these bulk liquids would be transported to and from the project site primarily by rail and marine vessel. Most notably, the DEIS focuses on crude oil which would be delivered by unit trains, stored, and loaded onto tank vessels at the Terminal 1 dock for shipping to refineries on the West Coast and potentially abroad. 

“One of three companies seeking to export crude oil from Grays Harbor says they are changing directions. Renewable Energy Group purchased Imperium Renewables last summer and with it the proposed expansion to store and export crude oil pending state approval.”

The Daily World “REG abandons crude-oil storage” Kyle Mittan
“Renewable Energy Group, one of three biofuel companies at the center of environmental reviews by the DOE, will not include crude oil as part of the expansion proposed at its Port of Grays Harbor facility”

The Columbian “REG drops plans for shipping crude oil in Grays Harbor” Dameon Pesanti
“Renewable Energy Group has abandoned plans to handle the shipping of crude oil by rail in Grays Harbor County. Environmental groups opposed to the project circulated word Wednesday of the project’s demise.”

The Seattle Times “Grays Harbor biodiesel plant cancels plan to ship crude oil” Ángel González
“The new owner of the mammoth Grays Harbor biodiesel plant has pulled the plug on the controversial idea of using the facility to ship U.S. crude oil unloaded from trains. Renewable Energy Group (REG), the Iowa company that bought nearly all the assets of Imperium Renewables last summer, said in a document filed with state regulators that “its future plans at Grays Harbor do not include handling crude oil.”

King 5 “Proposed terminal at Grays Harbor won't handle crude oil” AP (also ran in KXRO, KIRO7, the Olympian, and others)
“The owner of a Grays Harbor biodiesel facility says it won't handle crude oil as it pursues an expansion project on Washington's coast. The project was one of three terminals proposed at the Port of Grays Harbor to bring crude oil by train from the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana.”

1 comment:

  1. The direct quote from the REG comment letter states:

    "...In general, the Expansion Project remains important to
    REG’s continued operations in Grays Harbor. However, upon further evaluation and significant
    deliberation, REG has concluded that its future plans at Grays Harbor do not include handling crude oil.
    Therefore, REG intends to continue to pursue the Expansion Project, including the proposal to handle all
    of the commodities identified in its application materials, with the exception of crude oil. REG plans to
    provide the Co-Leads with more detail regarding this change in the near future...."

    All the other volatile, hazardous materials are still on the table, and even crude oil has not been officially withdrawn yet.