Firefighters in the US port city of Vancouver, Washington, on Tuesday declared their opposition to a proposal for an oil terminal to be located there.
The view was expressed by a spokesman of the firefighters’ union branch. Mark Johnson told Port of Vancouver commissioners at a public meeting that an oil terminal would pose a potential threat to public safety.
He said that an industrial accident could be disastrous unless there were major manpower, training and equipment upgrades for the fire service.
Several members of the public also expressed their opposition to the plan, citing concerns about potential accident and concomitant environmental and economic consequences. Some spoke in favour of the terminal, emphasizing the employment opportunities it would create.
The proposal is for what would be the largest rail-to-ship oil-transfer terminal in the US.
Vancouver, Washington, is 308 miles to the south of its more famous Canadian namesake in British Columbia.
In 2013 port commissioners approved a lease with potential terminal operator Vancouver Energy, which envisages 360,000 barrels of crude per day being delivered to the port by rail before being transferred to ships and sent down the Columbia River to West Coast refineries.
A draft environmental impact statement on the terminal – conducted by the Washington state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council – is expected to be available for public input by November 24.
The Port of Vancouver USA is a deepwater port on the Columbia River. It contains five terminals and the largest mobile harbour crane in North America.