Superior Court Judge David Gregerson dismissed a claim by three environmental groups that the port violated the state Environmental Policy Act by approving a lease to build an oil terminal before an environmental impact statement was issued.
The decision means the lease — involving 42 acres and worth at least $45 million over an initial 10 years — remains intact, although the ruling could be appealed. Meanwhile, the oil-by-rail proposal by Tesoro Corp. and Savage Companies, which faces strong public opposition, is moving through a yearlong environmental-impact review by a state-level permitting agency.
At the same time, Gregerson said there's a "public benefit" in allowing Columbia Riverkeeper, Sierra Club and Northwest Environmental Defense Center to pursue their separate complaint that the port violated the state Open Public Meetings Act by holding an illegal secret meeting to discuss the lease.
This article was originally published in the January 10, 2014 edition of the Columbian.