- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 8, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Portland’s planning commission has narrowly approved a zoning change for a $500 million terminal that would export Canadian propane to Asia.

The change goes to the City Council for final approval, The Oregonian (http://bit.ly/1O95gcP ) reported. A vote is likely in a few weeks.

At a six-hour meeting Tuesday, the commission at first deadlocked 5-5. But after a series of amendments, Commissioner Teresa St. Martin changed her vote, and the change was approved 6-4.

The proposal comes from Pembina Pipeline of Calgary, Alberta. It plans to ship propane derived from natural gas in western Canada. It would go by rail to the terminal at the Port of Portland, where the refrigerated liquid fuel would be stored in tanks before it’s loaded on ships.

Hundreds of people gathered outside as the Planning and Sustainability Commission held a public hearing. Many called the terminal dangerous and harmful to the environment, releasing 3 million to 5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.

“We need to teach the future generation that fossil fuels are not the way,” Heather Tenant said.

Pembina Vice President Eric Dyck said his company has been transporting propane successfully for decades, KOIN-TV (http://bit.ly/1O92Hr5 ) reported.

“We’ve been handling propane for 40 years and done it safely each and every one of those 40 years,” Dyck said. “We are proud of that fact, and this facility will be exactly the same.”

The terminal represents a third front for the movement of fossil fuels west from the interior of North America. Trains are doing a vigorous business shipping crude oil from the Northern Plains to West Coast points for refining. Proposals to ship coal from the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming for export to Asia have fared less well, running into regulatory and market barriers.

The propane terminal would be at the port’s Terminal 6 opposite West Hayden Island at the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette rivers.

Pembina Pipeline says the terminal would create 600 construction and 35 permanent jobs. It would go online in 2018.

The zoning change would allow the Canadian company to run a short pipeline over a narrow strip of land at the shoreline that is currently zoned for conservation. Without the change, the current zoning would prohibit Pembina’s proposal.

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com

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