First Refinery Proposed For Columbia River, Records Show

by Conrad Wilson and Tony Schick,  OPB


An energy company is seeking a partnership with the Port of Longview to create a crude oil refinery on the Columbia River, according to public records obtained and released by Columbia Riverkeeper.

An agreement between Riverside Energy, Inc. and the port could initiate the development of the first refinery on the Columbia River and the first on the West Coast in 25 years. The refinery would have a capacity of 30,000 barrels per day and produce a mix of diesel, gasoline and jet fuel all primarily for regional use, according to the documents.

The oil would travel to the refinery by rail from the Bakken fields of North Dakota, creating an estimated traffic of 10 trains per month. The refined products would then travel by water.

Several trains carrying crude oil have derailed and exploded in recent years.

“This is shocking new information. Refineries are extremely polluting. Highly toxic air pollution,” Columbia Riverkeeper Executive Director Brett VandenHeuvel said. “And to combine a refinery with explosive oil trains — it’s the worst of both worlds.”

A presentation from Riverside Refining estimates the project would create more than 400 construction jobs and 150 permanent positions, with an average annual wage of $75,000. The refinery would use “state-of-the-art processing technology” and “will have a lower carbon footprint than existing West Coast refineries,” according to the documents.

The Port of Longview indicated it would make a public statement later Wednesday.

This story will be updated.