Ecology working on new rules for movement of oil – Skagit Valley Herald

The long running debate on the oil and coal trains continues. This effects the Peninsula because of the vast increase in freighter and tanker traffic with increased rail cars bringing the product here, to be used or transshipped. 

The state Department of Ecology is developing new rules for transporting oil by train and pipeline. The changes could require companies moving oil through the state to improve accident response plans and provide advanced notice about the movement of oil. The changes could go into effect as early as 2016. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

http://www.goskagit.com/all_access/ecology-working-on-new-rules-for-movement-of-oil/article_382d9f10-0f07-579a-be34-9c1c6e23af30.html

Draft Environmental Review Released For Oil Terminals On Washington Coast – KUOW

Hoquim and Aberdeen ports are being slated for crude oil shipments by possible building of oil shipment facilities for trains coming from the Bakken fields in North Dakota. The plan is for 1178 more oil trains and 638 more oil tankers to be added to the Gray’s Harbor area a year. These trains would be carrying huge quantities of highly flammable crude, much the same as the oil that destroyed the Canadian town of Lac-Mégantic. (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lac-Mégantic_rail_disaster for more on that). The plan is for up to 1188 oil trains per year coming into the area. Additionally, the Draft EIS talks about significant impact to the Quinault Tribal fisheries in the area, as the tribe will not be able to fish while boats are present, which essentially is all the time. As stated in the Draft EIS: “Tribal members would not be able to fish when ships or barges are moving through the area.” I guess it’s up to the Tribe to determine whether this particular fishery is worth fighting for, or whether there are other areas they can fish that are less impacted. It will be interesting to see what the Tribe has to say on this.

Also of interest is the trade off that the cities see in adding this highly polluting industry to their area. We all know that Hoquim and Aberdeen have been one of the poorest locations in the State, ever since the collapse of the logging industry due to the disastrous federal policies of allowing raw logs to be shipped to Japan in the 1980s. This  turned what had been an industry that was highly functioning with extraction and higher value processing jobs into a third world country where only cutting and transport of logs was done, wiping out mills across the area in short order. The Federal government green light to massive cutting with no concerns of market conditions or any need for local mills,  led to a short lived boom until the resources were gone. Meanwhile the industry blamed environmental organizations for suing to stop the destruction of all remaining forests to save what little habitat was being left due to a lack of oversight and planning by the Federal Government.

And so the proposal is to continue to eat away at locations where salmon can be fished and create a very large possible oil spill concern, one that not only would impact the Gray’s Harbor area but also the entire Washington and Oregon coast, if one of these vessels sank during a large storm due to mechanical failure. The trade off is to give much needed jobs to at least some of the people in the Gray’s Harbor area. How badly is this oil needed with the downturn in the Chinese economy, and other issues? Is the trade off of possible destruction of our recreational use of the Pacific Coast worth it to support the oil industry and it’s desire to sell their product to China and Japan? You can read and comment on the draft EIS if you wish at the link below.

http://www.ecy.wa.gov/geographic/graysharbor/terminals.html

KUOW summary story:

The Washington State Department of Ecology has just released its draft environmental review of two proposed oil terminals on the Washington coast. A third proposed terminal has not yet begun the environmental review process. The terminals could be built in Grays Harbor, near Aberdeen, doubling current vessel and train traffic levels there. (KUOW)

http://kuow.org/post/draft-environmental-review-released-oil-terminals-washington-coast

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