Portland scores win in court battle over fossil fuel terminals

By Niina H. Farah | 02/28/2024 06:19 AM EST

A magistrate judge recommended that a federal court toss out a lawsuit from Montana and the fossil fuel industry against an ordinance from the Oregon city.

In this aerial view, the Port of Portland is shown Oct. 20, 2021, in Portland, Oregon.

The Port of Portland is shown in Oregon in 2021. Nathan Howard/Getty Images

A magistrate judge is recommending that a federal court nix Montana’s constitutional challenge to a Portland, Oregon, ordinance that puts new guardrails on the construction of fossil fuel storage facilities.

The state, along with the Western Energy Alliance and other industry challengers, is asking a court to block the city’s 2022 Bulk Fossil Fuels Terminal (BFFT) Ordinance for allegedly discriminating against interstate and foreign commerce.

They claim the decision by the city council to limit construction of new or expanded bulk fossil fuel terminals will harm their interests in exporting fuel from Portland’s deepwater port — a key transportation hub — across the Pacific Ocean.


Magistrate Judge Youlee Yim You said the challengers failed to raise claims demonstrating the ordinance would unfairly prevent the state and fossil fuel companies from storing and exporting fuel, or that local producers would get favorable treatment.