On Aug. 30, 2019, DEQ approved the renewal of
the air quality permit (officially known as a Standard Air Contaminant Discharge
Permit) for Columbia Pacific Bio-Refinery’s Ethanol Plant, located in
DEQ held a public hearing for the proposed
permit on July 24, 2019, and received 276 written comments, testimony from 37
individuals, and 812 names of persons supporting or opposing the proposed permit
throughout the public comment period.
On Aug. 19, 2014, DEQ issued Columbia Pacific Bio-Refinery, located in Clatskanie, a Standard Air Contaminant Discharge Permit for storage and marine vessel loading of crude oil and ethanol.
DEQ held a comment period and for the proposed permit in 2014. DEQ received approximately 1,400 public comments throughout the public comment period.DEQ also approved an oil spill contingency plan for the facility after public comment.
In March 2014, DEQ issued an enforcement action to Columbia Pacific Bio-Refinery for establishing a new major source of air pollution without a permit. The enforcement action included a civil penalty and order outlining steps for the company to follow to come into compliance. In April 2014, Columbia Pacific Bio-Refinery challenged the allegations in DEQ’s enforcement action and requested a formal contested case hearing to appeal the order.
After a series of settlement talks, DEQ and Columbia Pacific Bio-Refinery were able to agree to terms allowing the case to be settled without going to hearing. On Jan. 30, 2015, the settlement was finalized in a mutual agreement and final order. In the settlement all violations noted in DEQ’s original enforcement action remain as alleged. The order includes a penalty of $102,292.00, with $81,834.00 of the total penalty amount to be used for a supplemental environmental project.
DEQ reviewed and approved the supplemental environmental project proposed by Columbia Pacific Bio-Refinery in which all of the $81,834.00 will be provided to Community Action Team, Inc., for use in a woodstove replacement program in Columbia County. Community Action Team is a private non-profit that provides a variety of programs and services to help reduce the incidence and negative effects of poverty. DEQ expects the identified funds will allow Community Action Team to replace 16 to 20 woodstoves with EPA-certified units. This will benefit the health of affected household residents and the general public by reducing related air pollutants. Columbia Pacific Bio-Refinery is prohibited from using the supplemental environmental project as a tax deduction or as part of a tax credit.
Stormwater construction permit
Columbia Pacific Bio-Refinery has applied for a 1200-C stormwater construction permit. The public comment period for this permit started Feb. 20, 2015. View the application
(which includes a Land Use Compatibility Statement) and the Erosion and Sediment Control Plan
DEQ denies request to reconsider air quality permit
On Oct. 17, 2014, Northwest Environmental Defense Center, Center for Biological Diversity, Neighbors for Clean Air, Sierra Club, and Columbia Riverkeeper jointly filed a petition requesting DEQ reconsider the Columbia Pacific Bio-refinery air quality permit issuance. The petitioners based their request on the following claims:
DEQ made substantial revisions to the permit after the close of the public comment period requiring a new public comment period.
DEQ failed to address critical issues raised by the petitioners during the comment period, so the permit issuance was not justified.
The Columbia Pacific Bio-Refinery oil terminal met criteria to be considered a new federal major source of air contaminant emissions that required a Prevention of Significant Deterioration permit.
DEQ carefully reviewed the assertions in the request for reconsideration and determined the petitioners did not establish grounds for DEQ to grant their request. DEQ is therefore denying the petitioners’ request for reconsideration.
DEQ enforcement action
On March 27, 2014, DEQ issued a civil penalty to Columbia Pacific Bio-Refinery for establishing a new major source of air pollution without a permit and an order outlining what the company needs to do to come into compliance.
On April 10, 2014, Columbia Pacific Bio-Refinery appealed the DEQ enforcement order and requested a hearing.
Getting the air quality permit is one of the actions the order requires Columbia Pacific Bio-Refinery to take. CPBR has contested the enforcement action. The next step in DEQ's enforcement process is a contested case hearing. At the hearing, DEQ must prove that, more likely than not, the allegations on which DEQ based its case are true and the assessed penalty is supported by law.