The ordinance allows for existing fossil fuel facilities to be maintained and upgraded
VANCOUVER – On Monday, members of the Vancouver City Council voted unanimously to approve changes to the city’s fossil fuel code. The ordinance — which supports two of the city’s policy priorities, addressing climate change and equity — seeks to protect and enhance public health and safety, environment, and foster a transition to cleaner fuels in alignment with the city’s Climate Action goals.
“We’re concerned fossil fuel facilities pose a risk to the area’s health and safety,” said Chad Eiken, city community development director. “There are currently six bulk facilities that are susceptible to liquefaction and hazardous materials could potentially flow into the Columbia River, wetlands and other wildlife habitats in the case of a seismic event. These code changes are intended to reduce this risk and also minimize greenhouse gas emissions.”
Changes under the approved ordinance include:
- New bulk fossil fuel facilities, coal energy-generating facilities and solid fuel yards will be prohibited in all zoning districts
- Existing bulk fossil fuel facilities could be upgraded and maintained to ensure safe operations
- Cleaner fuels will be specifically defined to include a number of types of liquid or gaseous fuels produced from renewable sources or that have low or no emissions
- The capacity of existing bulk fossil fuel facilities could be expanded by 15% if switched to cleaner fuels, upgraded to seismic standards, and subject to approval of fire and spill response plans, among other requirements
- New cleaner fuel facilities of up to one million gallons capacity may be allowed by conditional use permit in the IH District in order to support the City’s Climate Action Strategy and a transition away from fossil fuels
“The environmental health impacts of fossil fuel facilities add disparate burdens on some communities in Vancouver,” said Dan Serres, Columbia Riverkeeper conservation director. “The proposed ordinance avoids worsening environmental health disparities already present in Vancouver and demonstrates and awareness of the difficulties these communities face.”
Approval of the fossil fuel code change ordinance does not apply to storage or use of petroleum for commercial sales or industrial processes, or maintenance or repair of existing facilities.
The ordinance allows for existing fossil fuel facilities to be maintained and upgraded; an allowed modest increase in capacity is intended to incentivize a conversion to cleaner fuel and upgrade to seismic standards. The ordinance takes effect Nov. 5.
Information provided by city of Vancouver.
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