The City of Portland authority has denied US-based liquid terminal operator Zenith Energy a necessary new Land Use Compatibility Statement (LUCS) for its Portland terminal, which it requires for continued operations.
Zenith has recently announced a plan to handle and store three times the amount of renewable diesel at its Portland terminal, which it says supports its vision for the terminal to focus on renewables, and will help Portland to meet its fossil fuel reduction targets. However, the city authority said in its decision letter that the site’s activities, while permitted under its current zoning codes, is incompatible with its 2035 Comprehensive Plan to address climate change and implement the energy transition.
The City of Portland consulted with tribal governments in the area in making its decision and found that the fossil fuels being transported and stored have the potential to directly impact tribal territories, cultural resources, and tribal treaty rights. The city also pointed to the intensification of activity at the terminal since Zenith bought it in 2017. Despite the terminal’s planned move towards biofuels, and improved safety measures, the increased activity and the potential adverse effects on the environment and ‘historically marginalised groups’ meant that it could not approve the LUCS.
‘The decision goes well beyond the confines of one Council office or bureau—we all stand united in affirmation of the City of Portland’s commitment to pursuing a clean energy future, addressing climate change, and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels,’ says Portland Commissioner Dan Ryan. ‘It is time to stop kicking our declarations down the road of intention—and start acting with the urgency needed at this critical time in history.’
Zenith is expected to appeal the decision.
‘”We are very disappointed in the City’s decision, which is particularly puzzling as we know our plan to transition to a fully renewable energy facility is very much in line with the values and goals reflected in the City of Portland’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan,’ says W Grady Reamer, vice president, US operations west, at Zenith Energy. ‘Contrary to recent reporting, Zenith is seeking to continue modernising our terminal, not to increase its capacity. We want to further increase renewable fuels at the expense of fossil fuels.’