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Controversial sale of Portland General Electric's Beaver Tank Farm terminated

PORT OF COLUMBIA COUNTY  - An aerial view of Port Westward shows storage tanks owned by PGE.The planned sale of Portland General Electric's Beaver Tank Farm to Global Partners LP has been terminated.

Global, which operates the Columbia Pacific Bio-Refinery in Clatskanie, had planned to purchase nine tanks from PGE to use for oil storage.

The state public utility commission had approved the controversial sale in June 2017.

Under the purchase and sale agreement, Global had a limited time frame to finalize the purchase.

Global did not meet those requirements, PGE said. Rather than extending the time frame, PGE terminated the agreement.

"PGE will retain ownership of the tank farm and its systems. We are evaluating how to best move forward with the tank farm in alignment with our long-term decarbonization strategy and what's in the best interest of our customers," Jaki Ferchland, a PGE manager, wrote in a notice filed with the Public Utility Commission of Oregon on Friday, May 15.

Columbia Pacific Bio-Refinery has just two tanks to store oil for the company's transloading operations at Port Westward. The sale would have expanded Global's storage capacity without the company having to construct its own tanks.

A spokesperson for Global said the sale was contingent on the company finding additional customers to warrant the major purchase, but that didn't happen.

Global is now seeking to switch from transporting ethanol to transporting renewable diesel. The air quality permit that would allow the switch is currently in the public comment period.

Global may not be able to rely on PGE's tanks, but the company could construct its own storage tanks.

"Subject to the operational need, we have the approval to construct storage tanks, new pipelines and additional rail offloading," said Catie Kerns, a vice president at Global. "We'll continue to evaluate that option (building tanks) as time goes on, but right now we're focused on the renewable diesel."

In an email to the Spotlight, a spokesperson for PGE said the company valued its relationship with Global.

"They're a good neighbor, and we look forward to working with them in the future," the spokesperson wrote.

Conservation nonprofit Columbia Riverkeeper and the anti-fossil fuel group Mothers for a Safe Columbia County have celebrated the sale termination, which they both advocated for over the years.

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