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Tell Ecology: No oil terminal expansion in Tacoma!

Last year, Par Pacifc purchased the US Oil refinery located on Tacoma’s Tideflats. This facility currently accepts tar sands oil, known to be one of the dirtiest on the planet, and nearly impossible to clean up.

Par Pacific has made clear its intention to expand the facility, allowing an increase in crude oil by rail and oil shipping on the Salish Sea. This would greatly increase our risk of oil spills and dangerous train derailments across the region.

Comment TODAY to tell Department of Ecology we must protect our community and oppose dirty tar sands oil in Tacoma.

The comment letter to Department of Ecology:

Dear Department of Ecology,

I am deeply concerned about the renewal of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System water quality permit for the US Oil refinery on the Tacoma Tideflats and the limited protections it provides to Tacoma from ongoing water pollution, as well as future impacts from any proposed facility expansion.

US Oil currently accepts tar sands oil, a heavy oil that can sink and submerge when spilled and becomes nearly impossible to fully recovery. With their purchase of US Oil in 2018, Par Pacific has made it clear that they plan to expand the facility, increasing shipping of crude oil by both rail and tanker. Any expansion of this facility would further expose Washington communities and the Salish Sea to a much greater risk of oil pollution.

The draft permit does not go far enough to ensure strong enforcement of toxic discharges from the facility, nor does it address possible changes in impacts that would arise from a facility expansion. Ecology is being too lenient by allowing US Oil to discharge contaminated stormwater without ensuring it has met water quality standards first. Additionally, US Oil is contaminating our waters with copper and zinc, toxins known to kill salmon, a shared resource that is already facing dwindling population numbers. Ecology should implement numerical standards for these pollutants now, not after the permit has been issued.

The permit also does not evaluate the additional water pollution impacts of possible expanded operations at US Oil, which could occur during the 5-year period of this permit.

I urge the Department of Ecology not to renew the US Oil’s NPDES water quality permit until you have done everything you can to assure the protection of our water and communities from these extremely dirty fuels.

Further, I urge Department of Ecology to make clear its role and intentions to comprehensively review additional water and air quality impacts resulting from any proposal to expand US Oil refining, storage, or transloading capacity. When US Oil begins expanding their facility, Ecology must re-evaluate their water quality impacts and re-issue this permit with more protective standards and restrictions.

Thank you for your work to protect Washington’s communities and clean water.