Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Vancouver USA Settles Document Lawsuit

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Vancouver USA on Aug. 5 settled a lawsuit that contended a version of a Vancouver Energy lease provided by the port in response to a public records request was excessively redacted.

As part of the settlement agreement, the port lifted all but three redactions on the lease document and paid $45,000 to limit further legal costs.

Vancouver Energy is a partnership between oil refiner Tesoro Corp. and transport firm Savage Companies. In April 2013, the companies announced a plan to build a major terminal for receiving oil by rail and transferring it to ships, which would take it to West Coast refineries.

The Clark County Natural Resources Council filed the lawsuit after it received a heavily redacted document from the port in response to a May 2014 public records request.

Under the settlement, the plaintiff has agreed to waive all statutory penalties and will dismiss their claim with prejudice, meaning the claim can’t be resurrected against the port in the future.

In a statement, the port said it provided the redacted copy in May 2014 “to protect information that, if made public, ran a high risk of harming the port’s ability to compete and generate economic benefit for the community.”

“It’s now been two years since the Vancouver Energy lease was first approved,” port CEO Todd Coleman said. “We’re now at a point where we feel releasing this information is important for transparency, and poses little risk to the port’s ability to remain competitive.”

The 429-page Vancouver Energy lease can be seen at http://www.portvanusa.com/assets/TSJV-Lease-10232013-RevRedactions-073015.pdf