Job creation and the economic benefits of Vancouver Energy provide the tipping point that makes the proposed terminal essential.
THE irony of activists getting to anti-oil protests in cars and in kayaks made from petroleum is inescapable. Even if they are unwilling to admit it, they and every one of us benefits from the move to make the United States energy independent.
The price of fueling our cars is the lowest it’s been in years, largely because the country is producing oil from previously untapped reserves in North Dakota and other nearby states. The low prices mean Americans have more to spend on improving their lives, from essentials like food, shelter and education to amenities like recreation.
In addition to reducing costs and making the United States less dependent on oil from unstable areas like the Middle East and Russia, Midwest crude is better for the environment. It has about 30 percent less carbon intensity than the crude oil processed in Washington state refineries today, which means significantly lower carbon emissions, according to a study conducted for the state.
These are all important reasons to support the proposed Vancouver Energy terminal at Washington’s Port of Vancouver and make it a project of both statewide and national significance.
For me, the job-creating and economic benefits of Vancouver Energy provide the tipping point that makes it absolutely essential.
The Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council recognizes the impact energy projects have on jobs and our economy. Vancouver Energy would provide 320 full-time jobs during construction and 1,000 direct and indirect jobs yearly through operations. These family-wage jobs would provide huge economic impacts to our state.
The project would also help sustain existing refinery jobs. Our contractors have built and maintained the majority of refineries on the West Coast. We also do the majority of capital projects within the refineries.
Petroleum fuels produced at those refineries are essential to every aspect of our economy and the way we live. They power cars, trucks, public transit, ferries, airplanes and more.
Development of alternative fuels will continue to grow and that’s a great thing, but petroleum will continue to drive our economy for decades.”
Washington consumes more jet fuel than all but seven other states. Last year was a record year for activity at Sea-Tac Airport, with more than 37 million passengers and a sizable jump in air cargo. None of those landing and departing planes were powered by wind, solar, hydro or used cooking oil.
It would be impossible to sustain the jobs and economic activities of airlines, airports and our aerospace industry without petroleum-derived jet fuel.
But to garner all the benefits from mid-America crude, we need the infrastructure to get the oil to West Coast refineries. Vancouver Energy would do that, receiving crude oil by rail and transferring it to ships for transport to refineries.
Rail is the safest and only realistic way to get oil from North Dakota to the West Coast. There is no pipeline or likelihood one will be built. Putting many more oil-tanker trucks on our highways would be less safe and less economical.
Vancouver Energy would enable West Coast refineries to reduce foreign oil imports by 30 percent while providing all those other benefits like jobs and reduced carbon emissions. It won’t increase use of petroleum products but would make our oil supply more domestic and safer for the environment.
It would also provide a transition to our energy future. Development of alternative fuels will continue to grow and that’s a great thing, but petroleum will continue to drive our economy for decades.
All of us want safety and security. We should all be working together to ensure new energy infrastructure in Washington is built and operated in the smartest and most conscientious manner possible.