An opponent of the oil-by-rail terminal has garnered nearly 65 percent of the vote in Vancouver’s Port commissioner race. If elected, the terminal could be doomed.
A high-profile Port commission race in Vancouver, Clark County, appears to have been won by Don Orange, who campaigned against a $210 million oil-by-rail terminal by the Columbia River that would be the largest such facility in the country.
As of Wednesday morning, Orange had nearly 65 percent of the vote compared with 35 percent from Kris Greene, who had received major campaign donations from backers of the terminal that would handle about 360,000 barrels of crude a day.
The election could doom the oil-terminal project in Vancouver.
Orange has said he will vote against extending a Port of Vancouver USA lease that Tesoro Corp. and Savage Cos. would need for the Vancouver Energy terminal to operate.
The Port has three commissioners, one of whom opposes the project. Orange, elected to a six-year term, is expected to swing the commission against the project. The lease is structured so that the Port — or Tesoro — can opt to terminate the lease.
The election attracted big campaign donations.
Greene drew major support from terminal backers, and raised more than $596,000. That money included $225,000 from Vancouver Energy and $140,000 from Tesoro Savage Petroleum Terminal, according to the Washington Public Disclosure Commission.
Orange raised $418,000, more than half from in-kind contributions from the Washington Conservation Voters Action Fund, according to commission records.
The project calls for an average of four crude trains a day, with the crude unloaded at the terminal and shipped by water to West Coast refiners.
Environmentalists have rallied against the terminal as part of a broader battle to block fossil-fuel projects at state ports. Project backers have pitched the terminal as an important link in the nation’s energy infrastructure that would bring investment and jobs to Southwest Washington, while opponents have said the environmental risks of spills or an explosive train derailment are too great.
The project is being reviewed by the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council. It will make a recommendation to Gov. Jay Inslee, who will then have the final say on whether the project has state approval.