For Immediate Release
Vancouver City Council Votes Unanimously to Prohibit Future Oil Projects
VANCOUVER, Washington - On Monday, the Vancouver City Council voted 7 to 0 to prohibit crude oil storage, handling, and refining facilities in Vancouver’s industrial zones. The vote is a historic step to prevent new proposals like the current Tesoro Savage and NuStar oil terminal proposals, which together would bring almost 140 million barrels of crude oil per year through Northwest communities. A crowd of over 150 turned out to support this step by the City – overflowing the council chambers.
"By taking this step, the City of Vancouver is standing up for little towns like ours who don't have the same power, but who bear the risks of oil trains just the same," said Mosier Mayor Arlene Burns.
Den Mark Wichar, resident of Hough Neighborhood in Vancouver, praised the Council's action. "Hough and eleven other neighborhoods oppose oil-by-rail because of its threat to public safety and climate, and what spills and explosions do to our common air and water. We back City Council's decision to protect this community from future reckless oil-by-rail development, and we hope the Governor takes this as clear indication of how Vancouver feels about the Tesoro project, too."
The vote from Vancouver’s city council follows a similar action in Aberdeen, Washington last Wednesday. There, the City Council voted unanimously to prohibit the location of bulk crude storage and handling facilities in the City of Aberdeen. Like Vancouver, Aberdeen faces a large crude oil proposal, Westway, which would handle 17 million barrels of crude oil per year.
Before the Council meeting – a crowd gathered at Esther Short Park to rally in support of the ban and march together to City Hall.
"For the railroads and big oil companies, derailments and fires are simply the cost of doing business. For me, it means the lives of our children and the lives of my patients and their families. As a physician and resident of Mosier, I applaud the Vancouver City Council for prohibiting future oil-by-rail development," stated Dr. Maria McCormick, one of the rally’s speakers.
“As a fellow city councilman and Safe Energy Leadership Alliance member I congratulate the City of Vancouver for their vote to not allow any further crude oil infrastructure in their city,” said Peter Cornelison, Hood River City Council. “We are at the start of a massive shift away from the old fossil fuel economy. The city is taking stepping into the new clean energy era with this decision.”
On May 24 in Vancouver, Vancouver’s Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of changes to Vancouver’s Municipal Code to prohibit bulk crude oil storage, handling, and refining. By amending the code to also prohibit crude oil refining, the City code will effectively block any future oil terminal proposals, including projects that would primarily handle tar sands crude oil. In September 2014, Vancouver’s City Council unanimously passed a moratorium on new oil terminal proposals. The moratorium is scheduled to end in August, and the Planning Commission has recommended the code changes to permanently address the oil terminal issue.
“The actions of Vancouver and Aberdeen show that communities are willing to use every tool in their toolbox to prevent oil terminals in the Northwest,” said Rebecca Ponzio, director of the Stand Up To Oil campaign.
Earthjustice is a non-profit public interest law firm dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth, and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment. We bring about far-reaching change by enforcing and strengthening environmental laws on behalf of hundreds of organizations, coalitions and communities.