The Fossil Fuel Terminal Zoning Amendments restrict the development and expansion of bulk fossil fuel terminals. The City Council initially adopted these amendments in 2016. After a lengthy appeals process, the City must readopt the amendments and consider additional policies and information.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
- Climate action goals – Fossil fuels are major contributors to climate change and pollution. The rapid development of fossil fuel resources in the Western United States and Canada since 2009 has prompted many proposals for new terminals in the Pacific Northwest. The City’s Climate Action Plan seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with fossil fuels being the largest source of emissions.
- Public safety and environmental protection – Several recent accidents involving fossil fuel distribution across the nation highlight public safety risks in cities and environmental risks along rivers. Most of Portland’s industrial areas, where the fossil fuel terminals are located, have moderate to high liquefaction susceptibility in a major earthquake. The zoning code changes limit the future risk in the event of a potential catastrophe.
- Oregon’s industrial center – Portland is Oregon’s largest, most diverse distribution hub, and existing Portland petroleum terminals serve more than 90 percent of the statewide market. Proposed code changes would restrict the expansion of these facilities in Portland, but allow these terminals to continue to operate and reinvest in safer facilities as Oregon transitions away from fossil fuels to more renewable energy sources.
PROPOSED ZONING AMENDMENTS WOULD...
- Identify “Bulk Fossil Fuel Terminals” as a regulated land use, characterized by (a) marine, railroad, or pipeline transport access and (b) either storage capacity exceeding 2 million gallons or transload facilities (such as rail-to-ship loading).
- Restrict new Bulk Fossil Fuel Terminals to 2 million gallons of storage capacity.
- Classify existing Bulk Fossil Fuel Terminals as “limited uses” that can continue to operate, but prohibit the future expansion of fossil fuel storage. “Seismic upgrades” involving the replacement of existing tanks would be allowed as well as new storage tanks for aviation fuels and renewable fuels.