OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington's Supreme Court says several meetings that the Port of Vancouver held in private to discuss a lease for a proposed oil terminal should have been open to the public.

Three conservation groups sued in 2013, arguing that the port violated the state open public meetings law in discussing a lease for the Vancouver Energy project. The port hard argued that commissioners met in closed session to discuss issues relevant to lease price.

The high court unanimously ruled Thursday that a Clark County court erred in siding with the port.

The justices said that while discussions about the minimum lease price can be held in private, general discussions about the factors around that price must still happen at open public meetings.

A state energy panel is currently reviewing the project that would handle about 360,000 barrels of crude oil a day.

Hundreds turned out Wednesday to the panel's hearing about the project's draft clean-air permit.


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