SEATTLE - Two companies proposing to build what would be the nation's largest oil-by-rail marine terminal along the Columbia River in Washington see it as an opportunity to link domestic crude oil from the interior to a West Coast port.

Critics, however, see an environmental and safety catastrophe waiting to happen, especially after a train carrying volatile Bakken crude oil derailed and burned on June 3 in Mosier, Oregon, just 70 miles upriver from the project site in Vancouver, Washington.

The battle over the Tesoro Savage Vancouver Energy terminal - which would handle about 360,000 barrels of crude oil a day - unfolds Monday when all sides make their case for or against the terminal before a state energy council.

The council will hear testimony from dozens of witnesses over five weeks and make a recommendation to Gov. Jay Inslee, who has the final say.