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Trial-Like Portion Of Vancouver Oil Terminal Review Ends Friday With Public Hearing

<p>Scattered and burned oil tank cars after a train derailed and burned near Mosier, Ore.&nbsp;</p>

Scattered and burned oil tank cars after a train derailed and burned near Mosier, Ore. 

For the last five weeks, Washington’s energy council has conducted a trial-like review of the Vancouver Energy Project. Those proceedings end with a public hearing Friday.

A judge has presided over what's known as the adjudicative portion of the energy council's review process. Proponents have been able to make their case for the oil terminal, while opponents have made their arguments too. There’s even been cross examinations as both sides have strived to depict the dangers or benefits of the oil terminal.

If built, the transfer facility would be the largest oil-by-rail terminal in the country.

The project is backed by Savage Companies, a logistics firm, and Tesoro Corp., an oil company. If built, the transfer facility would handle 360,000 barrels of crude oil daily from the Bakken Region of North Dakota. Once in Vancouver, the oil would be pumped from train cars into storage tanks at the Port of Vancouver. From there it would be loaded onto ships bound for West Coast ports.

The terminal would more than double the number of oil trains traveling through the Columbia River Gorge to about 46 per week. Proponents say the oil terminal could reduce West Coast oil imports by 30 percent.

Next, the council will rule on the findings from the adjudicative hearing and consider an environmental impact statement before making a recommendation to Gov. Jay Inslee about whether or not he should permit the oil terminal.

Copyright 2016 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Conrad Wilson