• Port of Vancouver Extends Oil Terminal Lease

    Mosier Oregon Oil Tank Car Burning June 3, 2016

    Mosier Oregon: Derailed Union Pacific Oil Tank Car Burns June 3, 2016

    In a 2-1 vote Tuesday, Port of Vancouver Commissioners extended Vancouver Energy’s proposed oil terminal lease, ahead of the potential cancellation deadline of March 31.

    Under the current lease Vancouver Energy is paying the port $100,000 a month pending a final decision by the state. The proposed $210 million Tesoro Savage Vancouver Energy terminal would bring an estimated 360,000 barrels of crude oil to Vancouver per day and has been opposed by community and environmental groups, including Rosemere Neighborhood Association, since its initial proposal nearly 4 years ago.

    Eric LaBrant was the sole dissenting vote, cautioning his fellow commissioners, “Gentlemen, we’re being sold a bill of goods. We need to make a decision as a commission to move on, be done with this process, and to move on to the other things that are in store for us.”

    The oil terminal is currently being reviewed by Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) which is expected to give its recommendation to Washington Governor Inslee at any time. The final decision will be made by Governor Inslee.

    For more information read Columbian Newspaper article here.

    Contact Governor Inslee’s office to make your voice heard on the proposed Oil Terminal here.


  • Update: New Hurdles for Proposed Oil Terminal

    WA State Supreme Court
    Our friends at Columbia Riverkeeper, Northwest Environmental Defense Center (NEDC), and Sierra Club learned this week that the Washington State Supreme Court will review the previous lower court rulings in their lawsuit  challenging the Port of Vancouver’s closed-door meetings in 2013 during the port’s initial consideration of the Tesoro Savage Oil Terminal lease.

    If they are successful, and win at the Supreme Court level, the potential result could be the court voiding the current lease agreement.

    From the Columbian:

    “If we were to prevail at the Supreme Court, we believe the remedy the court should give us is voiding the lease and asking the Port of Vancouver to make a new decision on the lease in light of the information in a final environmental impact statement,” said attorney Miles Johnson with Columbia Riverkeeper.

    That is not the only challenge facing the Port’s lease agreement. As the deadline looms for the Port to confirm the terminal lease this summer on August 1st, Port Commissioner Brian Wolfe is re-thinking his support for the project:

    Late Thursday, Commissioner Brian Wolfe told The Columbian that he hadn’t made up his mind about how he might cast another vote.

    “Am I prepared to make a decision on it? No,” Wolfe said. “I honestly don’t know; there are so many variables to consider.”

    Wolfe’s uncertainty turns what was a 3-0 decision nearly three years ago into a big maybe.

    “It was and will remain a really hard decision between economic development and the environment, in my mind,” Wolfe said.

    The other two Port Commissioners are divided; Jerry Oliver is expected to re-affirm his support for the terminal, and Eric Labrant,  the newest commissioner, is a longtime opponent to the project, so Wolfe’s vote could sway the lease vote this summer.

    And just this past week, local elected officials have teamed up to submit op-ed pieces to two major regional newspapers slamming the proposed Tesoro Savage Oil Terminal.

    Aisha Topper, Vancouver City Councilmember, and Amanda Fritz who serves on Portland City Council penned a letter to Washington Governor Inslee in The Oregonian on February 25 titled Washington governor must save Portland, Vancouver from giant oil terminal (OPINION). It begins by stating the two cities “stand together in opposing the largest proposed oil terminal in North America.”

    Vancouver Councilmember Bart Hanson, who has led the city’s opposition to the terminal, teamed up in a letter with Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart submitted to February 27 Spokesman-Review Vancouver oil terminal is a dangerous plan.”

    Their messages could not be clearer – they urge Washington State Governor Inslee to stand up for citizens and deny the Tesoro Savage Oil Terminal.


  • EFSEC Receives Record Number of Comments on Oil Terminal Proposal

    No OilFollowing record breaking attendance at open hearings in Vancouver and Spokane, EFSEC, Washington State’s Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, is now tasked with sifting through the volume of public input regarding the proposed Tesoro Savage Oil Terminal at the Port of Vancouver.  A record number of public comments – more than 250,000 – were submitted to EFSEC during the DEIS public comment period that ended January 22.

    Opposition to the terminal has been unprecedented, from such diverse organizations as Vancouver City Council, City of Portland, Multnomah County Commissioners, Vancouver Firefighters Union IAFF Local 452, ILWU Local 4, Columbia Waterfront LLC, Columbia River Inter-tribal Fish Commission, the sport fishing community, and the environmental community.

    Vancouver City Council voted to extend its moratorium on crude oil-handling facilities for another six months, their third extension in two years. Vancouver’s Comments on Draft EIS called the DEIS “wholly indadequate” and it’s “risk analysis is fatally flawed.”

    Even the Washington Attorney General called out EFSEC’s DEIS “…two significant deficiencies in the DEIS: (1) a flawed statistical analysis of train-derailment risk, and (2) insufficient analysis of the effort and investment required to bring first responders along the crude-oil-train route contemplated by the Tesoro-Savage project to a proper state of preparedness.”

    Rosemere Neighborhood Association has been vocal in its opposition to the terminal. The environmental risks posed by the terminal as outlined in the DEIS are too great and create excessive and unnecessary dangers to our communities and our precious water resources. RNA public commentary urges EFSEC members do everything in their power to deny the project and recommend Governor Inslee reject the Tesoro-Savage oil terminal.

    Read the full text of Rosemere Neighborhood Association Oil Terminal DEIS comments here.

    EFSEC has announced there will be a series of “adjudication hearings” this June, where the various stakeholders in the terminal will present testimony in front of the EFSEC council. The hearings will start Monday June 27 and will be held Mondays through Thursdays through July 29 in Vancouver and Olympia. Testimony at the hearings will include witness testimony and exhibits, will be open to the public and available electronically.

    To Learn more:

    EFSEC website – Tesoro Savage Vancouver Energy Project

    For more information about the dangers of oil by rail, and to review additional Public Comments opposing Tesoro Savage oil terminal and oil by rail:

    City of Vancouver Comments on Draft EIS

    Washington State Attorney General Comments on Tesoro Savage Vancouver Energy Project DEIS

    Multnomah County RESOLUTION NO. 2016-001 Opposing Oil Shipment by Rail

    Vancouver 101 Small Businesses against Big Oil terminal

    The Sightline Institute

    Stand Up To Oil

  • EPA Rights Complaint Process Changes Fail To Ease Petitioner Concerns (reprinted w/permission from Inside Washington Publishers)

    This article originally appeared in Inside EPA Weekly Report on February 22, 2013. It is reprinted here with permission of the publisher, Inside Washington Publishers. Copyright 2013. No further distribution is permitted.

    Click here to view article (pdf format): EPA Rights Complaint Process Changes Fail To Ease Petitioner Concerns

  • RNA Comments on EPA Draft Title VI Supplement

    On July 17, 2012, Rosemere Neighborhood Association submitted a public comments letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on EPA’s Draft Supplement: Advancing Environmental Justice Through Title VI of the Civil Rights Act


    The public comments letter in part includes:

    Despite Rosemere’s lawsuit and the subsequent national debate of the failures of the OCR, and despite your continued promises for EPA to increase efficiency in that office to make Environmental Justice a national priority, the OCR continues to fail in its intake and investigation guidelines in regard to Title VI complaints. To date, the EPA has ignored Rosemere’s various requests to meet with you and to voice our concerns and share our experiences in order to offer suggestions to improve OCR’s operations. And to date, only one case has ever attained a ruling of discrimination in support of Title VI claims [Angelita C. v. California Department of Pesticide Regulations] and it took more than ten years to achieve that result. Most cases are dismissed outright, claiming jurisdictional issues or other bureaucratic problems. Many groups across the country wonder why the OCR functions under such a dismal record, and this points succinctly to how OCR is disconnected from the disparate impacts that can be suffered by Environmental Justice populations nationwide.

    Environmental Justice Enforcement is a very important tool that should be used to address discrimination that can cause adverse health impacts and environmental harm to neighborhoods where low income and minorities live and work. Whereas we appreciate the Title VI Supplement’s attempt to begin to fine tune the various agency failures, we feel that the timelines are vague and deficient and that they need to be more detailed to ensure future compliance success. We offer the general comment that EPA’s enforcement model under the supplement attempts only gentle compliance — collaboration, and conciliation rather than the promise of clearly defined relief. For example, in the Angelita case, the state of California did not experience the withholding of federal funds as required under Title VI guidelines when a real first-time case discrimination was established. We acknowledge that the state of California is currently experiencing a serious budgetary crisis, and that a freeze of federal funds as mandated under Title VI could be very serious, but without consistent penalties for discriminatory behavior there can be no success in altering the on-the-ground conditions that contributed the disparate impacts.


    It is reasonable for the community to request EPA to be more open, to collaborate with the complainants as well as the agencies that are the target of complaints. Please don’t let this process degrade further into a debate limited to state’s rights of self government v. federal regulation. That argument is easily used to dismiss valid claims of discrimination and only points out how civil rights violations continue unabated in our nation.

    To view the letter in its entirety (pdf format):  Rosemere Neighborhood Association Comments on EPA Draft Title VI Supplement

  • Media Advisory: State Appeals Court Hears Arguments by County to Circumvent Clean Water Act

    Media Advisory for July 2, 2012

    Jan Hasselman, Earthjustice, (206) 343-7340, ext. 1025 (Available July 2)
    Janette Brimmer, Earthjustice, (206) 343-7340, ext. 1029
    Dvija Michael Bertish, Rosemere Neighborhood Association, (360) 281-4747
    Brett VandenHeuvel, Columbia Riverkeeper, (503) 348-2436

    State Appeals Court Hears Arguments by
    County to Circumvent Clean Water Act Protections of Fish and Water Quality

    Community and Clean Water Advocates ask court to ensure federal clean water laws are followed to protect rivers and salmon.

    WHAT: Hearing before Washington State Court of Appeals in Tacoma

    WHEN: July 2, 2012, 9 a.m.

    WHERE: Washington State Court of Appeals, Division II 950 Broadway, Suite 300, Tacoma, WA 98402 (Allow time to go through courthouse security.)

    WHY: Clark County deserves strong, uniform laws that protect clean water, sensitive aquatic environments and endangered species– the same requirements that over 100 other cities and counties in Washington have been complying with since 2008. Stronger stormwater controls are needed now. According to a recent U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study on stormwater, Vancouver, WA showed a wide suite of contaminants, including some of the highest levels of pesticides, suspended solids, and trace elements including mercury. A copy of the USGS stormwater study is attached.

    Federal law required Clark County and nearly 100 other cities and counties in Western Washington to adopt new rules governing runoff from development by August of 2008. In 2009, Clark County decided that it would not comply with the terms of a stormwater permit required by the Clean Water Act. The Department of Ecology confronted Clark County for its permit violation but later backed down and agreed to allow Clark County to retain inadequate stormwater standards for new developments in exchange for a promise to implement taxpayer-funded mitigation projects that were much less protective. This didn’t protect streams polluted by development runoff and shifted the burden of protecting clean water to local taxpayers instead of developers. In 2010, community and clean water groups represented by Earthjustice, challenged Clark County’s weak stormwater runoff rules to the state Pollution Control Hearings Board. In January 2011, the pollution board ruled in the community and clean water groups’ favor. The pollution board found Clark County’s weaker program to be illegal in several respects:

    • It is not based on any science and fails to protect water quality and salmon.
    • It unlawfully exempts development projects that “vested” (applied for a permit) prior to April of 2010.
    • It unlawfully allows Clark County to shift resources from its existing retrofit program to mitigate for new
    • It unlawfully fails to require “low impact development” at new development and mitigation sites.

    Clark County’s Commissioners appealed the Pollution Board’s ruling to the state Court of Appeals. The Builders’ Association joined in the appeal seeking weaker water pollution standards and the appeal will be heard July 2. Last December in a related matter, a federal judge issued a preliminary ruling that Clark County’s controversial development standards appear to violate federal laws to protect clean water. The decision by U.S. District Court Judge Ronald B. Leighton means Clark County must comply with federal clean water laws while the state court challenge is pending. The community and clean water groups include Rosemere Neighborhood Association, Columbia Riverkeeper, and the Northwest Environmental Defense Center. They are represented by attorneys Jan Hasselman and Janette Brimmer of the non-profit public interest law firm Earthjustice.


    To view or print a pdf version of this Media Advisory please click here.

  • PRESS RELEASE: New EPA Study shows contamination at Camp Bonneville has migrated

    ************ FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ***************


    Contact: Dvija Michael Bertish, Rosemere Neighborhood Association

    Original Release: May 31, 2012
    Update: June 8, 2012

    EPA Region X (Seattle Office) has published a May 2012 Technical Data Report entitled “Camp Bonneville Expanded Site Inspection, Vancouver WA” (Technical Document Number 11-02-0010), prepared by Ecology and Environment, Inc, Seattle WA.

    This report is phase II of a study EPA is conducting on-site to determine the level and pathways of contamination at the site. This study was performed subsequent to a February 2009 petition by the Rosemere Neighborhood Association and Columbia Riverkeeper requesting the site be analyzed under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) to determine possible Superfund status and placement of the site on the National Priorities List. The petition was filed following a litany of cleanup management problems led by the Washington State Department of Ecology, Clark County, and former cleanup Contractor Mike Gage.

    From May 2012 EPA Site Inspection Report:

    Perchlorate contamination associated with on-site sources is migrating and has
    reached North Fork Lacamas Creek and Lacamas Creek within the site boundaries….
    Based on sample results, contamination is present at on-site sources at significant concentrations.

    The Camp Bonneville Site Inspection scored above 28.5 points in an internal EPA scoring process, the threshold required to meet Superfund requirements. Next steps include regional EPA management meetings with local and state officials to determine plans on how to address the newly identified contaminant issues, and to discuss the potential of Superfund Status.

    High levels of perchlorate (used in mortars that were fired at the site) are suspected by some scientists to be a carcinogen, and are known to cause other serious health impacts. Pregnant women and children are at higher risks for adverse health impacts from perchlorate. Exposure is known to occur from drinking water contaminated with perchlorate. Significant levels of lead, mercury, HMX/RDX explosives, volatile/semi-volatile organics, and heavy metals are also present at significant concentrations at Camp Bonneville and can become mobile with stormwater activity.

    According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry “Toxic Substances Portal” http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov:

    • Living near a waste site or a rocket manufacturing or testing facility that contains high levels of perchlorate in the soil or groundwater may expose you to higher levels.
    • Perchlorates will eventually end up in ground water.
    • High levels of perchlorates can affect the thyroid gland, which in turn can alter the function of many organs in the body. The fetus and young children can be especially susceptible. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has determined that lead and lead compounds are reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens and the EPA has determined that lead is a probable human carcinogen. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that inorganic lead is probably carcinogenic to humans.
    • Exposure to high levels of metallic, inorganic, or organic mercury can permanently damage the brain, kidneys, and developing fetus. Effects on brain functioning may result in irritability, shyness, tremors, changes in vision or hearing, and memory problems.
    • The EPA has determined that mercuric chloride and methylmercury are possible human carcinogens.
    • Studies in children have suggested that extremely high levels of manganese exposure may produce undesirable effects on brain development, including changes in behavior and decreases in the ability to learn and remember.

    Items specified in the May 2012 EPA Site Inspection Report:

    1) Perchlorate concentration trends in ground water samples have been variable despite Interim Removal Actions that have occurred. Perchlorate is a suspected carcinogen used in rocket fuel, such as in mortars fired at the site. Perchlorate levels remain in excess of state cleanup standards at various monitoring locations. HMX and RDX, additional toxic explosives are also found in the ground water at levels that exceed state standards.

    2) Ground water also shows elevated concentrations of 12 metals: barium, chromium, cobalt, copper, lithium, manganese, mercury, nickel, strontium, titanium, vanadium, zinc. Semivolatile organic compounds were also detected.

    3) Surface water runoff (stormwater) from the site to water bodies is a migration pathway, and this pathway extends downstream for 15 miles. Local fishing could be impacted.

    4) Elevated levels of perchlorate, strontium and Volatile/Semivolatile Organics have been found in sediment samples along the North Fork of Lacamas Creek.

    5) Surface water samples show elevated levels of manganese and perchlorate in Lacamas Creek.

    6) Soil samples indicate elevated levels of RDX, perchlorate, lead, Volatile/Semivolatile Organic Compounds, Nickel, and other toxics at various site Target Areas, Target Impact Areas, Artillery Positions, Firing Ranges, and Demolition/Landfill areas.

    7) A Total of 64 Target/Receptor samples were collected, including 20 ground water samples, 10 surface water samples, 33 sediment samples and one surface soil sample. The sample results show that the contamination at significant concentrations from on-site sources is migrating and has reached these targets/receptors. Targets and receptors of sample locations include wetlands.

    9) Perchlorate contamination associated with on-site sources is migrating and has reached North Fork Lacamas Creek and Lacamas Creek within the site boundaries. Perchlorate was detected at elevated concentrations in surface water from the creeks.

    10) Analytical results show that contamination continues to impact ground water.

    11) Approximately 9,627 people use ground water for drinking water purposes within the 4 mile Target Distance Limit used in this study, including the presence of 3,269 domestic wells. The nearest well is within 1/4 mile of the site.

    To view or download this Press Release please click here: RNA PRESS RELEASE: EPA Camp Bonneville Expanded Site Inspection Report May 2012

    To view complete EPA Camp Bonneville Expanded Site Inspection Report: http://www.epa.gov/region10/pdf/sites/camp_bonneville/Camp_Bonneville_Expanded_Site_Inspection_Report.pdf

    For EPA Camp Bonneville Site Summary information: http://yosemite.epa.gov/r10/cleanup.nsf/sites/CB

    To see Portland TV station KGW Channel 8′s story on Camp Bonneville, “Toxins found in Lacamas Creek”, go to our video page here  http://www.rosemerena.org/home/videos/


    Activists Resist DOD Bid To Block EPA Policy Changes During Cleanups

    In a related story, this article originally appeared in Inside EPA Weekly Report on April 20, 2012. It is reprinted here with permission of the publisher, Inside Washington Publishers. Copyright 2012. No further distribution is permitted.

    Click here to view article (pdf format): Activists Resist DOD Bid To Block EPA Policy Changes During Cleanups 4-2012

  • EPA Plan Expected To Limit New Title VI Petitions (reprinted with permission from Inside Washington Publishers)

    This article originally appeared in Inside EPA Weekly Report on April 19, 2012. It is reprinted here with permission of the publisher, Inside Washington Publishers. Copyright 2012. No further distribution is permitted.

    Click here to view article (pdf format): EPA Plan Expected to Limit New Title VI Petitions

  • Agencies’ Pact Seen Forcing Action To Address Environmental Justice (reprinted with permission from Inside Washington Publishers)

    This article originally appeared in Inside EPA Weekly Report on August 12, 2011. It is reprinted here with permission of the publisher, Inside Washington Publishers. Copyright 2011. No further distribution is permitted.

    Click here to view article (pdf format): Agencies’ Pact Seen Forcing Action To Address Environmental Justice

  • Despite Jackson’s Vows, EPA Faces New Suit For Stalled ‘Rights’ Petitions (reprinted with permission from Inside Washington Publishers)

    This article originally appeared in Inside EPA Weekly Report on July 8, 2011. It is reprinted here with permission of the publisher, Inside Washington Publishers. Copyright 2011. No further distribution is permitted.

    Click here to view article (pdf format):  EPA Faces New Suit For Stalled ‘Rights’ Petitions

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