On behalf of the employees of Imperium Renewables, I would like to thank the Grays Harbor Community for its continuing support of Imperium. We have been in the community since 2006, building and operating one of the world’s largest biodiesel production facilities and supplying renewable fuels to customers around the world. We owe our success to the employees who live and work in the area, the companies that support our business and the critical infrastructure of the Port of Grays Harbor. We are proud to be a part of this terrific community and look forward to continuing to grow and prosper in the future.
During the last six months, there has been an unfortunate, and disturbing, level of unfounded speculation and misinformation from a small minority about Imperium’s growth plans. While we appreciate that not everyone believes that growth is beneficial, we believe that it is important for us to share our vision for the future of our business and what it means for Grays Harbor County, the State of Washington and the United States. We have earned your trust as a safe operator in Grays Harbor and we look forward to continuing this in the future.
For the same reasons that Imperium selected the Harbor to locate our business in the past, our expansion opportunities of the future are made possible by the unique world-class transportation infrastructure of the Port of Grays Harbor. The Port and a vast majority of the community understand that this infrastructure is a major factor in the success of the community going forward. Whether it is for shipping U.S. grain to overseas markets, cars built in Detroit to China, or renewable or domestic sources of fuels for the transportation sector, the Port of Grays Harbor is a major logistics hub.
While Imperium is currently permitted for the storage of fuels, including petroleum products, we are known mostly for producing biodiesel. The expansion of our operations to store and transport additional biofuels such as ethanol, along with other petroleum products such as crude oil from the Bakken fields of North Dakota is a critical step forward for our company, as well as the economic development of the Harbor and our nation’s energy supply.
Our expansion plans to build a world class liquid bulk storage facility are no different than the hundreds of liquid bulk storage facilities that are located in every state in the U.S., as well as many cities throughout Washington. This expansion is not a change in direction for the company, but rather an exciting new business opportunity that allows us to grow, create increased economic opportunity for the community, and to do it safely and under conditions that already exist. Washington already has some of the most stringent safety requirements in the country, and Imperium’s track record of compliance is excellent.
We firmly agree that safety is a primary goal, and we embody it throughout every aspect of our operations at Imperium. Since we began operations in 2007, we have received more than 70 vessels and thousands of railcars to our facility safely and without any spills. We, too, share the concerns about the potential for spills and we will continue to work the Department of Ecology and U.S. Coast Guard, as we have since 2006, to continue to establish the highest standards possible for our company. Many of our employees live, work and play in the community; they are your friends, relatives and neighbors. All of us understand the importance of this and we will not compromise on the issue of safety.
We are committed to growing our business in a safe, economically viable and mutually prosperous manner in the Harbor and we trust that the majority of the community shares our vision, can embrace this opportunity and help Imperium and Grays Harbor meet the challenges of the 21st century together.
John Plaza is Chief Executive Officer of Imperium Renewables.