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Environmental group expresses concern over Columbia River refinery

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Recently obtained documents indicate that Riverside Refining, LLC, is seeking a partnership with the Port of Longview to build an oil refinery on the Columbia River in Longview, Washington. This would be the first west coast refinery constructed in over 25 years, and the largest new refinery in the continental US since 1976.

According to environmental group Columbia Riverkeeper, the proposal to supply the refinery with oil by rail makes the project even more controversial. Crude oil trains in North America have exploded a dozen times in the last two years, including an explosion that killed 47 people in Quebec.

“Combining bomb trains, a polluting refinery, and supertankers is an unimaginable risk to our health and the Columbia River,” stated Brett VandenHeuvel, Executive Director of Columbia Riverkeeper. A refinery along the Columbia would put the river and some of the most valuable salmon runs on Earth at dramatic risk.

The oil trains would pass through dozens of cities en route to the refinery. “This is a game changer,” stated Ben Stuckart, Spokane City Council President. “The spectre of new refineries served by oil trains threatens every community along the way.”

Riverside Refining has released detailed plans for building a unit train rail loop to receive oil trains from North Dakota’s Bakken formation, refining the oil, and shipping supertankers of diesel, gasoline, and jet fuel down the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean. Planning documents show Riverside Refining proposes a 30 000 bpd refinery served by unit trains with 100 to 120 cars per train.

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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