For years, the Pacific Northwest has faced an onslaught of new fossil fuel projects. Together our coalitions have led powerful campaigns that have defeated all 8 proposed oil-by-rail terminals and all 7 proposed coal terminals. However, the fight against fossil fuel terminals is only growing more complex as the industry shifts to convert existing facilities into crude oil export facilities, diversifies refining operations for new petrochemical products, and seeks new complex fracked gas facilities for transportation fuel, electricity generation, and other uses. Stopping these new fracked gas terminals is critical to prevent fossil fuel build-out in our region that would continue to lock us into decades of increased gas demand and dependence, slowing our urgent transition to a clean economy.
We are making an impact because we work to mobilize communities, engage decision makers, deploy legal tools, and elevate the issue in public to stand up against the fossil fuel companies and prevent the expansion of coal, oil, and fracked gas facilities in the Northwest.
Current Terminal Fights
Washington Environmental Council is currently leading in the fight against several oil and gas terminals in Washington including:
Seaport Sound (Tacoma, WA)
- The Seaport Sound bulk oil terminal has been working to actively expand over the last several years including rail line expansions and a current proposal to increase on-site storage capacity. WEC and our local partners have already fought for and won additional environmental review requirements for this proposal to better understand its impacts on community health and safety, local waterways, and Puyallup tribal resources.
Tacoma LNG (Tacoma, WA)
- WEC is working closely with the Power Past Fracked Gas coalition, the Puyallup Tribe, and local residents to oppose Puget Sound Energy’s massive fracked gas plant at the Port of Tacoma. Currently, WEC, the Puyallup Tribe, and our environmental partners are challenging key permits for the facility.
In addition to these terminals, we are actively supporting our Stand Up To Oil and Power Past Fracked Gas partners in terminal fights across the region. While local communities lead in these fights, these projects threaten to impact all of us in the Northwest by locking in new fossil fuel infrastructure that would increase the gas pipelines and oil trains and vessels running through our region, pollute our air and water, and drive climate change.
- Phillips 66 (Ferndale, WA) – The Phillips 66 project in Ferndale in Whatcom County is attempting to expand the facility’s storage capacity.
- Zenith (Portland, OR) – Zenith Energy is expanding shipments of heavy tar sands crude oil at its Willamette River facility in Portland to one or more trains per week.
- Global Partners (Port Westward, OR) – Global Partners bought Port Westward in 2013 and transitioned it from an ethanol facility to crude oil export terminal. Then, in 2016, crude oil prices plummeted and Global Partners laid off workers and suspended oil transportation. Stand Up To Oil celebrated when this happened since this is a company that operated under substandard requirements and violated even those permits. Despite strong opposition from people in Columbia County and uprail communities along the Columbia River, Global continues to push for expanded oil train shipments, oil storage capacity, and more oil tankers on the Columbia River.
- Jordan Cove LNG (Jordan Cove, OR) – For over a decade, southern Oregon has been threatened by the proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal and Pacific Connector fracked gas pipeline.
- Trans Mountain Pipeline (Alberta to British Columbia) – The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project would bring in 890,000 barrels of crude oil per day across Canada and out through the international Salish Sea waters in oil tankers.
WEC is also celebrating our recent and historic victories in major terminal fights in the Northwest!
- Kalama Methanol (Kalama, WA): Northwest Innovation Works wanted to build the world’s biggest refinery to create methanol from fracked gas in Kalama, WA. In spring 2021, Washington Department of Ecology denied a key permit for the project and Northwest Innovation Works officially canceled the project in June, 2021.
- Millennium Coal Terminal (Longview, WA): If built, Millennium would have sent up to 44 million metric tons of Powder River and Uinta Basin coal per year to Asian markets that are quickly turning away from coal-fired power. The terminal would have added up to 16 trains a day between the Powder River Basin and Longview, Washington, impacting public safety response times in rail communities across the High Plains and Pacific Northwest. After 4 permit and regulatory denials of the project and 5 legal appeal wins, culminating in the Supreme Court dismissal of a federal lawsuit in June, 2021, this project is officially dead.
- Tesoro Xylene (Anacortes, WA): In 2015, Tesoro proposed a project to manufacture and export 15,000 barrels per day of mixed xylenes–petrochemicals used to make plastics–through the Salish Sea. In response to firm opposition and legal challenges from Stand Up To Oil partners, the refinery officially withdrew their project application in December 2019.
- Fraser Surrey Docks (British Columbia): The Port of Vancouver, British Columbia canceled permits for the Fraser Surrey Docks to develop a coal export facility at the beginning of this year. The decision comes after years work by the Power Past Coal coalition, with leadership by Dogwood Initiative in British Columbia. If built, the facility would have resulted in up to 4 million tons of dirty Power River Basin coal transported along the Columbia River and then into Canada to be loaded onto ships headed for Asia.
- Tesoro Savage Oil Terminal (Vancouver, WA): Tesoro Savage would have been the largest crude oil by rail terminal in the nation. With a capacity to handle 360,000 barrels per day, four trains daily would’ve been needed to deliver the oil and a tanker 700 feet in length for shipment down the Columbia River. Tesoro Savage could have dealt a major blow to Vancouver’s economy and quality of life, but people across the Northwest stood up and said no.
- NuStar Energy (Vancouver, WA): NuStar Energy currently operates a bulk terminal at the Port of Vancouver on the Columbia River. The company proposed to retrofit their facility to become an oil-by-rail terminal. NuStar Energy wanted to receive an average of 22,000 barrels of crude oil per day. The company submitted its proposal to the City of Vancouver days before the City passed a moratorium on any new crude oil projects. Since the company had proposed to retrofit their existing facility, there were relatively few permits required.
- Westway Terminal Company (Grays Harbor, WA): Westway currently operates a bulk terminal at the Port of Grays Harbor, and proposed a retrofit to receive 48,918 barrels of crude per day from oil train shipments. Since the company had proposed to retrofit their existing facility, there were relatively few permits required. The Quinault Indian Nation was opposed to this project, along with the other two projects proposed in Grays Harbor at the same time (Imperium and US Development), and led the coalition in defeating the project. After deep community organizing, record comment periods, and a State Supreme Court Decision that upheld the Ocean Resources Management Act (ORMA), a state law that protects coastal ocean resources, the company officially stopped pursuing the project.
- Imperium Renewables/Renewable Energy Group (Grays Harbor, WA): Along with Westway (above), this biodiesel plant was planning to retrofit its facility at the Port of Grays Harbor to receive crude oil during the height of early 2010s oil price spikes. Similar to Westway, there were limited permits required since there was no in-water work. The project was received through the same permitting processes as Westway and met the same fate: project proponents withdrawing their intention of transporting crude oil through the facility.
- Gateway Pacific Terminal (Cherry Point, WA): The proposed terminal would have been the largest coal export terminal in North America. Lummi Nation and Power Past Coal partners fiercely fought the project for five years which was officially denied by the Army Corps of Engineers in 2016, citing the Lummi Nation’s treaty-protected fishing rights.
- U.S. Development Group (Grays Harbor, WA): In 2012, US Development proposed building a new oil-by-rail terminal that would have received 45,000 barrels of crude per day in Grays Harbor. The project was unanimously opposed by the nearby Aberdeen City Council and numerous community led organizations. In April 2016, the company opted out of its lease agreement with the port, quietly ending its bid to ship crude oil across Washington and through the state’s coastal waters.
- Shell Oil (Anacortes, WA): Shell Puget Sound Refinery announced in 2016 that it would drop its plans to construct a crude-by-rail facility in Anacortes. Originally proposed in 2014, community opposition and legal challenges forced Shell and Skagit County to undertake a full environmental and public health review under the State Environmental Policy Act. That delay, growing local and regional opposition, and uncertain economics contributed to Shell’s decision.
- Waterside Energy (Longview, WA): Texas-based Waterside Energy was proposing to build the first oil refinery on the West Coast in more than 25 years, and the first ever on the Columbia River. The $1.25 billion proposed facility would have been capable of refining 30,000 barrels of oil and 15,000 barrels of biofuel each day. The project also included a propane and butane terminal handling 75,000 barrels per day. The plan called for three additional trains per week carrying crude oil along the Columbia River. There was strong local and regional opposition to this project which ultimately resulted in the Port of Longview commissioners voting unanimously in February 2016 to end talks with Waterside. The CEO of Westside infamously told a crowd of investors that fossil fuel projects go to the Pacific Northwest to die after his experience.
- Morrow Pacific (Port of Morrow, Boardman, OR): In 2012, Ambre Energy (Lighthouse Resources) proposed a project that would transport 8.8 million tons of coal each year by rail to the Port of Morrow where it would be transferred to barges, moved to Port Westward and loaded onto ships on the Columbia River in Oregon. The project was fiercely opposed by, environmental groups, health professionals, municipalities, and tribal nations including the Yakama Nation, Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs, the Nez Perce, and Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. The Oregon Department of State Lands permit application was outright denied in August 2014, noting the project failed to propose adequate mitigation, failed to consider the availability of alternatives, and didn’t clearly demonstrate that the project would be the best use over commercial, subsistence and cultural fishing uses by tribal fishers.
- Kinder Morgan (Port Westward, Clatskanie, WA): This terminal would have exported 15 to 30 million tons of Powder River Basin coal each year, threatening cities and towns along rail lines with toxic coal dust and critical delays in emergency response time. Investors lost interest in the face of safety concerns voiced by PGE (owners of a nearby gas-fired power plant), strong local opposition, and regional concerns about turning the Columbia River into a coal chute. Kinder Morgan’s application for a permit was withdrawn in May 2013.
- Metro Ports (Coos Bay, OR): Metro Ports proposed a coal terminal project in July of 2011 for Coos Bay on the southern Oregon coast, the same place that is now the epicenter of the Jordan Cove LNG Export terminal fight. This terminal would have transported 11 million tons of coal per year. As a result of mounting opposition from communities, health professionals, businesses and elected officials, as well as fluctuating markets for coal, investors backed out of the deal and the permit for coal export was withdrawn in March 2013.
- Rail America (Grays Harbor, Hoquiam, WA): Rail America proposed a coal terminal project at the Port of Grays Harbor in Hoquiam, Washington in July 2011 that would have moved 5 million tons of coal per year. Responding to organized local and regional opposition, alongside stated financial and other port concerns, the company withdrew the permit for the coal export facility in August 2012.