Can a commercial development be used to block Big Oil?


Environmental groups in Vancouver, Wash. are rallying for the rapid development of a $1.3 billion real estate project along the Columbia River. We know, we know: Why would environmentalists want to see the bank of a river plastered with 32 acres of shops, office buildings, and apartment towers? To block something even worse: oil.

Here’s the scoop: The development, called Waterfront, would sit two miles west of the proposed terminal. Oil trains would pass within a few hundred feet of the project’s towers. So, if there was ever a teensy mishap — a spill, or perchance a derailment? — public safety would be at risk. If Waterfront, which was approved back in November 2013, is built soon, it will make for a steep path to approval for the oil terminal.

That gigantic terminal would transfer North Dakota crude oil by rail cars to barges, on which trains would pass through Vancouver each day, carrying approximately 360,000…

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