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The Zenith Oil Terminal is located on Front Avenue in Northwest Portland. The facility, located a few hundred feet from the Willamette River is importing thick, viscous crude oil or bitumen from tar sand operations in Alberta, Canada.
Stop The Zenith Oil Terminal Operation by Jack Kerfoot
Bitumen must be diluted by chemicals, such as benzene, toluene or hydrogen sulfide before it can be pump it into oil tank cars and transported by rail. The oil is shipped over 1,000 miles from tar sand operations in Canada to the Zenith Oil Terminal in Portland.
The heavy oil is then pumped from railroad oil tank cars into large oil storage tanks at the Zenith Oil Terminal. The oil terminal can store up to 1.5 million barrels of thick, viscous crude oil. The heavy oil is finally pumped into oil tankers on the Willamette River and shipped to refineries around the world.
The environmental risks for the Zenith Oil Terminal include:
Transporting bitumen by rail from Canada to Portland crosses majestic mountains, pristine rivers and bountiful farmlands. A railroad accident could cause the oil tank cars to overturn, creating a devastating oil spill.
The Zenith Oil Terminal is located on an earthquake liquification zone. The soil in a liquification zone can temporarily lose strength during an earthquake, which could cause the large oil storage tanks to rupture, spilling millions of gallons of bitumen into the Willamette River.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality have recently cited the Zenith Oil Terminal for insufficient oil tank inspections and poor preparation for potential oil spills.
In 2016, the City of Portland passed a "No New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure" ban. The Zenith Oil Terminal is using Arc Logistics' 2014 permit to expand operations, claiming they are not building new infrastructure.
In my opinion, it is only a matter of time before operations at the Zenith Oil Terminal will result in an environmental catastrophe. I oppose the Zenith Oil Terminal operation.
This article was reprinted with permission from Jack Kerfoot. Jack is a candidate for Portland Commissioner.
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