Shortly after it acquired the former Imperium Renewables biodiesel facility in 2015, the Renewable Energy Group said it would scrap a plan Imperium started to handle crude oil shipments from Hoquiam. On Thursday, REG made it official, formally giving notice to the City of Hoquiam that it was abandoning the plan.
“The company has formally withdrawn the Imperium Terminal Services shoreline permit application with the City of Hoquiam,” the company said. Imperium was the company that initially applied for the permit.
The permit application would have allowed the expansion of bulk liquid storage capabilities and rail capacity at the existing biodiesel production facility. Included in the withdrawal is the proposal to store, handle and transport crude oil by rail.
“When (we) acquired Imperium, we heard concerns from the community regarding the handling of crude oil. We publicly indicated we would not pursue crude by rail, but this formal withdrawal signifies our commitment to the citizens of Grays Harbor County and the environment,” said Renewable Energy Group Vice President and Chief of Staff Natalie Merrill.
She said the company continues to look for expansion opportunities in the region that do not include crude oil, adding, “We are evaluating Grays Harbor as well as additional locations in Washington for renewable diesel production.”
Brian Shay, Hoquiam City Administrator, said, “Although this particular expansion is no longer on the table, we will continue to work with (the company) in any future effort to expand. They have been a great partner with the city and our community.”
“The formal withdrawal is welcome news to our community,” said Quinault Indian Nation President Fawn Sharp. The Quinault Nation led the opposition to crude oil shipments. “We share a common vision for economic growth in Grays Harbor and are encouraged by (the company’s) direct engagement with us and other community partners as they explore a new direction toward a sustainable, vibrant and healthy economy.”
Contanda, formerly Westway Terminals, has also publicly stated they do not intend to pursue their proposed crude oil facility at the Port, but to date have not officially withdrawn their shorelines permit application with the City of Hoquiam.