VANCOUVER, Wash. — Environmental passions, which run hot in the Northwest over everything from salmon to recycling, generally get couched in the negative: Don’t fish too much, don’t put those chemicals up the smokestack, don’t build in that sensitive area.
But here in southern Washington, some environmental groups are quietly pushing a builder to move even faster with a $1.3 billion real estate project along the Columbia River that includes office buildings, shops and towers with 3,300 apartments.
The reason is oil.
Two miles west of the 32-acre project, called the Waterfront, one of the biggest proposed oil terminals in the country is going through an environmental review, with plans to transfer North Dakota crude from rail cars to barges. Up to four trains, carrying 360,000 barrels of oil, would pass every day through this city’s downtown, only a few hundred feet from the Waterfront’s towers, westbound from the Bakken shale oil fields.