The Port of Tacoma Commission Thursday gave its formal approval to a 25-year lease that will repurpose the former site of a World War II-vintage aluminum smelter as a petroleum products tank farm.
The project by Targa Sound Terminal LLC is expected to create about 100 temporary construction jobs and 50 permanent positions.
The terminal, to be built on 80 acres between the Blair and Hylebos waterways northwest of Highway 509, is expected to open for business in May next year. The terminal site was once occupied by a Kaiser Aluminum smelter. The port bought the smelter in 2003, demolished some 70 buildings and cleaned up pollution on the site.
The new tank farm will be used to store crude oil, biofuels and other petroleum products for use in the Northwest.
A parade of civic, business and environmental leaders appeared at the port meeting to praise Targa for its efforts to meet community concerns.
Leslie Rose representing Citizens for a Healthy Bay, said Targa’s plan is a classic example of “making lemons into lemonade.”
The environmental group is pleased with Targa’s effort to keep the new facility from polluting the environment and with its consultation with the group about potential issues.
Port Commission President Don Meyer said Targa’s community outreach efforts were exemplary.
Targa President Troy Goodman said the new facility will incorporate state-of-the-art environmental safety systems and covered rail car unloading areas.
Tacoma Rail superintendent Dale King said Targa has worked extensively with the city-owned railroad to ensure that Targa’s new rail yard meets Tacoma Rail’s needs. Tacoma Rail will move cars loaded with crude oil and other products from the mainline railroads to Targa’s Tideflats yard.
Much of the crude oil handled by the new facility will originate in North Dakota and Eastern Montana where oil companies are tapping the Bakken formation deep underground using new methods to release oil trapped in the rock.