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KUOW's environment beat brings you stories on the ongoing cleanup of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, alternative energy, the health of the Puget Sound, coal transportation and more. We're also partnered with several stations across the Northwest to bring you environmental news via EarthFix.

Port Of Vancouver Reconsiders Proposed Oil Terminal

Flickr Photo/WSDOT

UPDATE 7/10/13, 4:09 p.m. PT: The Associated Press is reporting that the death toll for the Quebec train crash that rocked a small town over the weekend has reached 50. Canadian officials have declared that the missing people in the explosion are now presumed dead.

The tragedy has given the commissioners of the Port of Vancouver in Washington pause as they consider a proposal for a terminal to move oil from trains onto ships.

Later this month the Port of Vancouver was set to vote on the largest train-to-ship oil transfer terminal proposed for the Northwest. Brian Wolfe is a commissioner with the Port. He said the tragedy in Quebec has highlighted the need for more information about the safety and environmental impacts of the facility.

“We would have wanted to know all the facts before the tragedy," he said. "The tragedy just heightens the awareness of needing to know all the facts.”

Wolfe added that he is still in support of the facility and thinks the project will go forward, though approval may be postponed.

The Tesoro/Savage facility would move up to 360,000 barrels of oil per day from trains onto ships bound for West Coast refineries. That could mean up to 72 trains of oil moving along the Columbia Gorge each week.

The oil is coming from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota – the same source of oil that was in the train that exploded in Quebec. There are now 11 places in the Northwest considering handling Bakken oil.

The public meeting for the proposed terminal will be held on July 22 at the Port of Vancouver administrative building. If the Port approves the lease the project will then go through an environmental review with final approval from the governor.