Global Partners LP receives fuel despite challenge to DEQ permit modification

COURTESY OF GLOBAL PARTNERS LP - Global Partners supporters stand in front of the first renewable diesel-filled ship that the company is shipping out from its Clatskanie facility on Feb. 6. From left to right: Global Partners employee Mike, Port of Columbia County Commissioner Robert Keyser, Global Partners terminal manager Dan Luckett, Port of Columbia County Commissioner Larry Ericksen, Senator Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose), and Global Partners Vice President of External Communications Catie Kerns.

Updated Feb. 8 with new information from DEQ.

The owners of the Columbia Pacific Bio-Refinery at Port Westward have received their first shipment of renewable diesel.

"We are thrilled to be moving low-carbon fuels in Oregon. These fuels are part of the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, bring more jobs and commerce to Oregon, and meet the West Coast's low-carbon fuel standards," Global Partners CEO Eric Slifka stated in a Feb. 5 news release.

The company has transported and stored ethanol at the Clatskanie facility since 2016.

Catie Kerns, a spokesperson for Global, said in October that CPBR would begin moving renewable diesel in fall 2020, but the first shipment wasn't received until recently.

In late June 2020, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality approved a modification to CPBR's permits to allow the company to also transport renewable diesel.

The permit manages air emissions and applies to CPBR's transloading operations, moving fuel from one mode of transportation to another, such as from train to boat.

Environmental advocacy groups including Columbia Riverkeeper appealed DEQ's approval, arguing that one of the operating scenarios included in the permit should be removed because Global did not own the tanks (the company had planned to purchase the tanks but the sale fell through), and that crude oil should be removed from the permit entirely. DEQ agreed to review the first argument.

The approved permit remained in effect pending DEQ's decision. On Friday, Feb. 5, DEQ issued a revised permit, which removed the operating scenario that Riverkeeper took issue with.

In early 2020, the Port of Columbia approved a lease modification to allow Global to transport renewable diesel.

"As we transition to more environmentally friendly fuels, I'm gratified to see Global Partners leading the way right here at the Port of Columbia County by shipping renewable diesel via our Port Westward dock facility," Port of Columbia County Commissioner Larry Ericksen stated in Global's news release.

Renewable diesel is chemically the same as standard petroleum diesel fuel, which means it can be used in diesel engines. Regular diesel fuel is made from crude oil, while renewable diesel is derived from plant and animal byproducts.

You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.