SAN FRANCISCO – Riverside Refining LLC is developing an energy infrastructure project for the Pacific Northwest and is considering Washington State’s Port of Longview as a potential location for it, the company’s CEO said on Wednesday.
The company declined to say what the project would entail, but Riverside Refining CEO Louis Soumas said it will provide details when it has secured a final site for the project, informed all affected stakeholders, and completed further study.
Separately on Wednesday, environmental group Columbia Riverkeepers released documents it had obtained through a state-level public records request that showed Riverside Refining had approached the Port of Longview last year about building an oil refinery that would have been supplied by crude oil trains from the Bakken region of North Dakota.
The proposed 30,000-barrel-per-day refinery, which would have been the first new West Coast refinery in over 25 years, did not develop past an unsigned 8-page memorandum of understanding dated July 2014 between the Port of Longview and Soumas. It would have produced diesel, gasoline and jet fuel.
The project envisioned the refinery receiving approximately 10 trains with between 100 and 120 cars each per month carrying crude oil from North Dakota. The refinery would have been located on the Colombia River, a key northwest waterway with access to shipping channels in the Pacific Ocean.
Fiery derailments of crude oil trains in West Virginia, Illinois and Canada since the beginning of the year have fueled concerns about the safety of transporting crude by rail. In July 2013, a train carrying Bakken crude derailed in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, killing 47 people.
“Combining bomb trains, a polluting refinery, and supertankers is an unimaginable risk to our health and the Columbia River,” said Brett VandenHeuvel, executive director of Columbia Riverkeepers.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Ken Wills)
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