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November 4, 2022: Portland Requiring Oil Facilities to Perform Seismic Vulnerability Assessments

Oil storage tanks in Portland along the Willamette River. | Photo by Nick Cunningham

Nearly 600 large oil storage tanks line the west bank of the Willamette River in Oregon. The area is known as The Critical Energy Infrastructure Hub. For more than a decade, regulators have been concerned about the possibility of a catastrophic oil spill should the area experience a strong earthquake. Earlier this year, legislation was passed that will require companies to perform seismic vulnerability assessments of their facilities. They would also be required to create a mitigation plan to minimize risk should a 9.0 earthquake strike the pacific northwest.
State Senator Michael Dembrow said “Spillage of fuel into the Willamette, and then that fuel making its way into the Columbia, looks inevitable if we don’t take steps to avoid it. How do those of us who are legislators, or how do any of us, live with ourselves if we haven’t taken steps to ward off the worst that could happen?”
The Critical Energy Infrastructure Hub is responsible for handling 90% of the liquid fuel for the state of Oregon. It also handles 100% of the jet fuel used at Portland International Airport. If the hub experiences significant damage, there would be an immediate gas shortage throughout the state. This could have devastating effects on any recovery efforts following the earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

Regulation coming to Portland oil facilities as state looks to avert massive spill after the ‘big one’

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