Tidewater awarded $3.1 million for biodiesel distribution hub

By Tidewater Terminal Company Inc. | March 28, 2023

The USDA announced an award of $3.1 million for Tidewater Terminal Company Inc. to expand the availability of biodiesel throughout central and eastern Washington and Oregon and northern Idaho. Combined with over $3 million in matching funds from Tidewater, the grant will make improvements at Tidewater's strategically located Snake River Terminal in Pasco, Washington to enable the receiving of neat biodiesel by railcar and its blending and offloading to trucks for local delivery.

“This federal investment will support Tidewater’s goal of establishing a regional distribution center to serve rural, agricultural communities in the Pacific Northwest with renewable energy resources,” said Todd Busch, Tidewater president and CEO. “I would like to thank USDA and our members of the Washington and Oregon congressional delegation for all their work to make this project a reality.”

Tidewater’s application for funding was aided by strong backing from the Pacific Northwest congressional delegation including Senator Maria Cantwell (WA), Senator Patty Murray (WA), Senator Ron Wyden (OR), Senator Jeff Merkley (OR), Representative Dan Newhouse (WA), Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA), and Representative Cliff Bentz (OR) who each sent a letter of support to USDA.

“Supplying homegrown fossil fuel alternatives to Washington state’s agriculture economy will help farmers meet their fuel needs while lowering their carbon footprint,” said Sen. Cantwell. “Increasing regional fuel supplies should also help reduce petroleum diesel prices that have remained at historic highs and cost businesses throughout the region.”

“Transitioning to a clean energy economy is how we tackle the climate crisis while creating good paying jobs in every part of our state—and that absolutely needs to include our farmers and rural communities,” said Sen. Murray. “With this funding I helped to secure, biodiesel will be readily available for farmers across eastern Washington and beyond. This is going to lower costs, lower carbon emissions, and strengthen the local economy. This is a huge win for the entire Tri-Cities community.”

“This federal investment in the Tidewater regional hub packs a powerful one-two punch that supports both the rural agricultural economy in Eastern Oregon and the urgently needed transition to a cleaner, renewable transportation marketplace,” Sen. Wyden said. “This is exactly the type of project I had in mind as Congress worked to include additional funding for this program in the Inflation Reduction Act that I fought to pass.”

“Oregon leads the way in combating climate chaos, and the Clean Fuels Program is a great example of how we do that,” said Sen. Merkley. “This funding to Tidewater will not only benefit the farmers and economies of Eastern Oregon, but will also help ensure the availability of renewable fuels in Oregon as we lead the nation in tackling the climate crisis.”

Tidewater’s Snake River Terminal is the only multi-modal facility in the area with access to rail, barge, and pipeline. Awarded through the USDA’s Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program, improvements will provide the capacity to blend more than 2 million gallons of biodiesel per month and meet the energy needs of area farmers during peak harvest season. Overall, the project is estimated to reduce annual emissions by 212 million pounds of CO2.

The project will support Washington and Oregon's emissions reductions goals by helping meet a projected 150 percent increase in biodiesel demand. At the beginning of 2023, the State of Washington implemented its Clean Fuel Standard program, which seeks to cut statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 4.3 million metric tons over the next 15 years. Likewise, Oregon recently expanded its Clean Fuels Program with the goal of making the State’s transportation fuel supplies 20 percent cleaner by 2030 and 37 percent cleaner by 2035. By utilizing a broad, expanding range of feedstocks including soybean oil, animal fats and used cooking oil, biodiesel can reduce net carbon emissions by as much as 78 percent compared to petroleum-based fuels.

Founded in 1932, Tidewater Transportation and Terminals, Inc. is a diversified marine transportation and terminal company headquartered in Vancouver, Washington. Tidewater is the largest inland barge company west of the Mississippi River, providing barge service spanning from the mouth of the Columbia River at Astoria, Oregon, along the entire 465-mile navigable length of the Columbia and Snake Rivers, terminating at Lewiston, Idaho. In addition, Tidewater operates a network of five strategically located multi-commodity marine terminals capable of handling a wide range of cargos and intermodal connections.

 For more information about Tidewater, please visit: www.tidewater.com


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