Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and B.C. Premier John Horgan attend Cascadia economic development conference in Vancouver, Oct. 10, 2018. (B.C. government photo)

Jay Inslee lowers pressure on Trans Mountain pipeline opposition

Washington governor feels heat at home for oil refinery expansion

With his state government feeling the heat over its latest oil refinery expansion, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is keeping his previously vocal opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion as low-pressure as possible.

Asked during a visit to Vancouver this week about B.C.’s plan to construct a large-scale liquefied natural gas export terminal at Kitimat, Inslee had lots to say about the shortcomings of U.S. President Donald Trump, and Inslee’s joint effort with B.C. Premier John Horgan to “defeat climate change.” But nothing on LNG, and as little as possible on his formerly strident opposition to expanding the oil pipeline that supplies his state with Alberta crude.

“I generally comment on other jurisdictions in things that affect my state,” Inslee said. “That’s why I joined the premier in opposition to the other pipeline, and we’ll see what happens in litigation. We’re party to that.”

“The other pipeline” is Trans Mountain, still the only oil pipeline supplying crude to Washington state’s refineries at Cherry Point near Blaine, March Point near Anacortes, and Ferndale. Shell’s March Point complex began operations in 1958 with only Trans Mountain crude from Alberta, but in recent years the state gets nearly half its oil via daily tankers from Valdez, Alaska through the Salish Sea.

Oil train traffic to Washington started in 2012 and has risen rapidly. Volatile light crude from North Dakota’s Bakken shale oil deposits, the same product loaded on a train that exploded and killed 47 people in Lac Mégantic, Quebec in 2013, now accounts for most of Washington’s oil by rail.

RELATED: Oil-by-rail traffic rises through B.C. to Washington

Along with upgraded oilsands crude from Alberta and shale oil from Saskatchewan, Washington refineries are bringing in more than a million barrels a week on trains, according to the latest quarterly report from the Washington State Department of Ecology.

Inslee, touted as a possible Democratic nominee for president in 2020, has had his own petroleum protests at home, focused on continued refinery expansion rather than oil trains.

Shell’s March Point refinery has tripled its capacity to 145,000 barrels a day during its lifetime. But it’s the latest expansion of its neighbouring Anacortes plant, owned by Texas-based Andeavor (formerly Tesoro Corp.) that has sparked opposition.

Andeavor is in the approval process for a $400 million upgrade that would produce 15,000 barrels per day of mixed xylenes, a petroleum product used in plastics, solvents, paint thinners and x-ray films that would be shipped overseas to Asian manufacturers.

Local environmental activists were joined in opposing the project by Stand.Earth, formerly ForestEthics, the San Francisco-based organization that grew out of B.C. logging protests 25 years ago and has shifted its attacks to Alberta oilsands in recent years.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Are there windier days ahead?

Tales from the Bear

Man caught in fatal avalanche ID’ed as Alberta man in his 20s

Outdoor guides warn against high winds in the mountains Family Day weekend

Road conditions for Feb. 14

More compact snow and slippery sections

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

Cougars take bended knee for injured Osoyoos player

Vernon coach commends Barriere Cougars for showing respect to injured player

‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’: Seven children die in Halifax house fire

A man and woman remained in hospital Tuesday afternoon, the man with life-threatening injuries

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

B.C. man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

Minister says plans to fight poverty, climate change, focus of B.C. budget

The NDP said in its throne speech last week that affordability will be the hallmark of its initiatives

Make sure measles shots up to date, Public Health Agency says

Measles causes high fever, coughing, sneezing and a widespread painful rash

Bomb threats, gunfire, kidnapping: Drug war rocks Kamloops

Kamloops RCMP battles a series of violent events

B.C. hotel trashes Channing Tatum in favour of Ryan Reynolds

Tatum’s picture left in recycling bin, replaced with photo of Ryan Reynolds

B.C. firefighters rescue bear cub stuck up a tree

Family Day was eventful for cub, firefighters

Most Read