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Washington Governor Rejects Oil Terminal

The governor of the state of Washington rejected an oil industry application on Monday to build an oil-by-rail terminal in the Port of Vancouver.

The energy terminal, proposed by the oil companies Tesoro and Savage, would have shuttled 131 million barrels of oil per year from the mid-North America and Bakken oil fields down the Columbia River—the largest such project in North America. But Governor Jay Inslee (D) said Monday that he was in agreement with the state's Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, which recommended in November that the permit for the terminal be denied.

"The Council has thoroughly examined these and other issues and determined that it is not possible to adequately mitigate the risks, or eliminate the adverse impacts of the facility, to an acceptable level," Inslee wrote in a letter to the council. "When weighing all of the factors considered against the need for and potential benefits of the facility at this location, I believe the record reflects substantial evidence that the project does not meet the broad public interest standard necessary for the Council to recommend site certification."

While the companies have 30 days to appeal the governor's decision, environmentalists celebrated Inslee's announcement. "This project was absurdly dangerous and destructive, and Governor Inslee saw these risks clearly," Dan Serres, conservation director of Columbia Riverkeeper, said in a statement. "The threat of an earthquake or accident creating an oil spill in the Columbia River poses far too great a risk to the Columbia, its salmon, and its people."