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Huge Rail-To-Ship Crude Oil Terminal Proposed For Vancouver, Wash.

Port of Vancouver USA

Oil refiner Tesoro and a terminal operating company named Savage detailed plans Thursday for the biggest crude oil shipping terminal to be proposed in the Northwest. It would be located on the Columbia River at the Port of Vancouver, Washington.

The proposed terminal would receive crude by rail from oil fields in North Dakota and the like. The oil would then be transferred onto oceangoing tankers for delivery to West Coast refineries. Tesoro vice president Mark Smith told Port of Vancouver commissioners that this could replace more expensive foreign crude imports with cheaper domestic supply.

"This revolution in U.S. production is just amazing," said Smith. "It's going to help us push out these foreign sources of oil and replace them."

But after Smith and fellow executives finished their presentation, it became clear they face opposition. A string of environmentalists stepped forward to warn of the risk of oil spills, both from train derailments and possible tanker accidents.

This project is one of five rail-to-ship crude oil terminals in various stages of review around the Northwest.

On the Web:

Oil Trains On The Rise In The Northwest (December 12, 2012) - EarthFix

Now semi-retired, Tom Banse covered national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reported from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events unfolded. Tom's stories can be found online and were heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.