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PSY Director Warns Against Lifting Alaska Oil Ban

Lifting the federal ban on the export of Alaskan crude would seriously damage the Portland Ship Yard (PSY) and cost up to 700 Portland jobs a year, warned Mike Thorne, Port of Portland executive director. Mr. Thorne said he is trying to create support for Senate bill 1265 and House Bill 2670, both of which would extend the ban.

The ban was imposed in 1973 as a way to improve U.S. oil self-sufficiency. It was on the basis of this firm federal policy that Portland voters approved an $84 million expansion of PSY — which included building a mammoth floating drydock to handle the new Alaskan crude oil tankers coming into service. Mr. Thorne says close to about 80 percent of PSYs repair jobs are tankers, and 67 percent of those tankers are in the Alaskan oil fleet. "Largely on the basis of this tanker business, Portland has become the leading commercial shiprepair center on the West Coast," said Mr.Thorne. "Lifting the crude oil export ban would take away a shiprepair market niche Portland created for itself," because if crude is exported, it is almost certain these tankers will be repaired on the other side of the Pacific.

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