All Politics is Local

Port canceled meeting has uncanny timing

If you were looking forward to rallying for or railing against the Vancouver Energy oil terminal — like so many of you love to do — at the upcoming Port of Vancouver Board of Commissioners meeting, you’re going to be disappointed.

If you were hoping the commission would use the upcoming meeting to cancel the lease, for what could be the largest oil terminal in the United States, before the current lease cycle ends June 30, you’re going to be really disappointed.

Because neither is going to happen, and the lease for the proposed crude-by-rail terminal — capable of handling an average of 360,000 barrels of oil per day — will definitely renew.

The commission was supposed to hold its regular meeting June 27, just days before Vancouver Energy’s rolling three-month lease starts over; but, the port canceled because there were no agenda items — nothing to vote on, nothing to talk about and definitely nothing to see here.

Whatever business the port may need to discuss during open session, apparently none of it is too pressing, and it can wait a few weeks until after the lease starts anew.

When the port announced the upcoming meeting would be canceled, it didn’t say anything about ignoring this sensitive topic. But doing so definitely prevents a sequel to the fracas that vaguely resembled a government meeting when the commission last voted on it in March. If you weren’t there but want to get an idea of what happened, I might suggest watching a couple reruns of The Jerry Springer Show at its mid-90s peak, then tell yourself the board voted 2-1 to keep the lease going.

Flash forward to the commission’s most recent meeting June 14, when Commissioner Eric LaBrant tried to make June 30 the final day for the lease, but Commissioners Jerry Oliver and Brian Wolfe had none of it. LaBrant’s motion died without a second.

 

Check it out in the video below, the action begins at 1:28:30.

I can’t be the only one who’s surprised by the port’s decision to not host a meeting. In fact, I think a lot of people were expecting something to happen with the lease.

Prior to LaBrant’s noble but hopeless motion, community members spent just under an hour volleying support and denunciations for the project, along with not-so-subtle jabs at each other. But that happens at just about every meeting, whether the terminal is on the agenda.

If there’s one thing I think everyone involved is looking forward to is the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council finishing its review of the terminal and Gov. Jay Inslee making a decision to approve or deny the project. But it’s not clear when that will happen.

Comments