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Planned Crude-by-Rail Terminal in Tacoma Scrapped


A fuel terminal developer has unexpectedly scrapped a project at the Port of Tacoma. It was intended to receive crude oil by rail. The reasons for the cancellation are murky.

At the beginning of this year, fuel handler Targa Sound Terminal announced plans for a $150 million tank farm and rail yard at the Port of Tacoma. Targa said its terminal expansion could receive North Dakota crude and other liquid fuels for transfer to seagoing tankers and barges.

The lease with the port included an escape clause in the event of an unfavorable feasibility study. And that's what happened. 

A letter from Targa Sound Terminal president Troy Goodman to the port says, "In spite of the tremendous support we received and our best efforts, we regret that we have been unable to identify an economical path forward for our project."

Messages seeking further explanation from the company were not immediately returned.

Shipping crude from oil fields on the Great Plains has become increasingly controversial since a deadly runaway train accident in Quebec earlier this summer.  

The now-cancelled Tacoma terminal was among a dozen crude-by-rail projects in the Northwest, either planned or in operation.

Port of Tacoma spokeswoman Tara Mattina wrote in an email that its site "is highly marketable, and we are committed to putting it back into productive use." 


Correspondent Tom Banse is an Olympia-based reporter with more than three decades of experience covering Washington and Oregon state government, public policy, business and breaking news stories. Most of his career was spent with public radio's Northwest News Network, but now in semi-retirement his work is appearing on other outlets.