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Vancouver Energy donates $100,000 to local charity

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Vancouver Energy is best known for wanting to build the nation’s largest rail-to-marine oil terminal — but it also has a charitable arm.

The Vancouver Energy Foundation recently gave $100,000 to six local groups to support “education, public safety and environmental conservation and sustainability,” the company said late last month.

The biggest checks were $39,000 for the Clark County Skills Center’s automotive technology program; $25,000 for Evergreen Habitat for Humanity’s school-based Geometry in Construction; $20,000 for YWCA Clark County’s children’s program; and $12,000 to the Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools for its Family Engagement Project.

“We are grateful to work alongside these organizations in an effort to improve the lives of those around us, and we hope to expand that reach in our next funding cycle,” Vancouver Energy General Manager Jared Larrabee said in a press release.

An additional $5,000 was given to the Emil Fries School of Piano Technology for the Blind, and $2,100 went to Assistance League of Southwest Washington.

A community advisory board chose the recipients out of 20 applications.

For Evergreen Habitat, every dollar goes a long way.

The $25,000 gift will go toward a Habitat home under construction at Evergreen High School. Students earn a math credit and get hands-on experience through the program, while a low-income family gets a house with a no-interest mortgage.

“We’re excited about it,” said Evergreen Habitat spokeswoman Heather Cochrun.

Vancouver Energy is the joint venture between Tesoro Corp. and Savage Cos. Its proposed oil terminal would handle 360,000 barrels of oil per day at the Port of Vancouver.

The Port of Vancouver commissioners unanimously approved the terminal project in 2013. The project has faced strong public criticism since then and is now undergoing a regulatory review by the state’s Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council. Last year, voters in the port district elected Eric LaBrant, a staunch opponent of the terminal project, to replace retiring incumbent Commissioner Nancy Baker. With early termination available for the lease agreement this year, the port commission could end up voting on whether to extend its lease with Vancouver energy.

Some terminal critics say Vancouver Energy’s donations, while undoubtedly valuable to local community groups, are part of what they see as a strategy to buy public support.

“For Vancouver Energy, you get a (port commission) election that indicates the community is opposed to the project, and a port commission that needs to make an affirmative decision in the coming months. I think they’re desperate,” said Dan Serres, Columbia Riverkeeper’s conservation director.

The foundation was started in 2015 with a $300,000 commitment from Tesoro, Savage and BNSF Railways. Grant requests are considered on an ongoing basis; an application and more information can be found at www.vancouverenergyusa.com/who-we-are/giving-back.

Source: The Columbian

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