Washington Gov. Jay Inslee rejected one of the largest oil terminals in the country Monday to prop up an activist-led movement that would prevent oil producers from accessing the state’s ports.
The Tesoro Savage project creates unavoidable catastrophic risks from earthquakes, oil spills in the Columbia River, and the threat of fire or explosion at the facility, Inslee said in a press statement. He was referring to a project that would have shipped more than 131 million barrels of oil down the Columbia River.
“The project would also cause up to five, mile and a half long oil trains to pass through Spokane, the Columbia River Gorge, and the City of Vancouver every day with additional harms to public health and safety and increased climate changing pollution,” said Inslee, a Democrat who has jumped aboard a campaign to create a buffer zone in Northwestern states against oil companies.
In Vancouver, Wash., for instance, the city council amended the zoning code to prevent new oil storage facilities and limit the expansion of existing facilities – the Tesoro Vancouver Energy project was not included in the amendment. Inslee decided to nix the massive project anyway.
Inslee has used questionable tactics in the past to push various climate policies tackling global warming.
“We have just 59 days to do our part to save our children from an endless cycle of crop-killing droughts one year, and rivers spilling their banks the next,” Inslee wrote in a tweet earlier this month. The missive was designed to press his state’s legislature into passing a carbon tax bill before the state washes away – the tweet was sent Jan. 9, so lawmakers have only a month left to save their state, according to Inslee.
Inslee’s decision to eliminate the project comes as pockets of resistance in Oregon and Washington work to expel fossil fuel proposals from the Pacific Northwest – activists are now referring to the movement as the Thin Green Line, a kind of invisible wall built by individual communities up and down the West Coast.
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