Zenith Energy’s problems in the US State of Oregon continue, as it has emerged that the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) fined the company US$23,598 (€19.960) for water quality violations in July.
In documents released on 30 August 2021, the DEQ alleges that Zenith carried out construction activities at its Portland terminal prior to obtaining the correct permit. The construction work continued for eight months without the permit, including activities that could have led to runoff containing sediment into the Willamette River. Sediment-containing waters like this can have detrimental effects on aquatic life by covering up food sources and smothering invertebrate organisms.
In its letter to Zenith informing the company of the fine, dated 7 July 2021, DEQ says that it is ‘concerned by the flagrant nature of Zenith’s conduct. In May of 2020, Zenith applied for coverage under the permit. However, on July 16, 2020, DEQ informed Zenith that its application did not include a sufficient Land Use Compatibility Statement and requested additional information form Zenith to approve its application. Despite DEQ’s clear response to the permit application, Zenith began construction activities at the site without permit coverage.’
Zenith had 20 days to appeal the fine. The company has not commented on the fine, or whether it appealed against it.
On 27 August 2021, the City of Portland in Oregon denied Zenith Energy a necessary new Land Use Compatibility Statement (LUCS) for its Portland terminal, which it requires for continued operations on the basis that the terminal is incompatible with its 2035 Comprehensive Plan to address climate change and implement the energy transition. This is despite Zenith’s plan to shift towards biofuels at the site. The company is expected to appeal.