Port Westward

Port Westward.

Global Partners, a Port of Columbia County tenant, wants to expand on what grades of fuel it can transport at its Port Westward site in the Clatskanie area.

The company asked Port commissioners to consider amending the lease for Global’s Columbia Pacific Bio-Refinery at a Nov. 14 Port meeting. That would permit Global more flexibility in the face of market shifts, the company said. In 2016, its Port Westward terminal switched from transporting crude oil to ethanol in response to market conditions.

The company runs transport trains on a rail line that follows Highway 30 from its shipping terminal at Port Westward to Portland. Global already has the permits needed to ship both ethanol and crude oil, though in the past it has expressed to no desire to resume shipping oil.

Columbia Pacific Bio-Refinery was initially built for ethanol, garnering $36 million in green energy loans and tax incentives from the state. It went belly-up in 2009 and then-owner JH Kelly, who was contracted to build the plant, sold it to Global Partners. Oil shipping began from the site in 2012.

Longview’s Daily News reported in 2016 that Global Partners had been fined $102,000 for exceeding the 50-million gallon limit for the site that was authorized by the state. It was reported that Global had shipped 300-million gallons in 2013 in drawing the fine.

The environmental activist group Columbia Riverkeeper, which has challenged industrial expansions at Port Westward, has repeatedly warned public officials of what it sees as the dangers of shipping crude oil and ethanol. A number of groups and local agriculture operations have also protested what they see as industry encroaching on them.

Port commissioners discussed the Global Partners lease amendment during a Nov. 28 meeting. Updates on that meeting are forthcoming.

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