Quinault Speak Out Against Oil Trains as Rail Cars Smolder in West Virginia

Chief Petty Officer Angie Vallier/U.S. Coast Guard photo via Popular ScienceThe derailed train cars in West Virginia, still smoldering a day later.

Chief Petty Officer Angie Vallier/U.S. Coast Guard photo via Popular Science
The derailed train cars in West Virginia, still smoldering a day later.

 

As two dozen charred freight-train tankers continued smoldering in West Virginia on Thursday, the Quinault Indian Nation grabbed the opportunity to once again deride the transport of crude oil by rail because of safety and environmental considerations.

RELATED: Video: Raw Footage of Exploding Oil Train in West Virginia Shows Dangers of Rail Transport

“Even as we face very severe, and growing, challenges from fossil fuel-induced climate change, oil production has doubled in this country over the past five years,” Quinault Indian Nation President Fawn Sharp said in a statement on February 17, a day after the 109-car train carrying three million gallons of extra-volatile Bakken crude derailed. “And it is getting spilled, in massive amounts, in many places. From 1975 to 2012, there was an average of 800,000 gallons of oil spilled from trains onto the lands and into the waters of this country each year. Last year alone that number skyrocketed to 1.15 million gallons.”

Indeed, at least one of the cars fell and discharged its contents into a tributary of the Kanawha River, and two towns had to be evacuated. Moreover, the train was on the same route that saw the derailment of three tanker cars into the James River in Lynchburg, Virginia, last year, the Associated Pressreported. Speed was not a factor, according to AP.

RELATED: Lynchburg Oil Train Explosion Refuels Rail-Terminal Opposition in Northwest

Oil terminals are proposed in Grays Harbor near Quinault territory, and Sharp has been outspoken against those projects. At least 130,000 barrels of crude oil would move through the Westway and Imperium oil terminals daily from the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana, the Quinault statement said. Another 45,000 barrels would be accommodated at a terminal proposed in Hoquiam as well, the tribe said.

“People need to realize that these trains are unsafe, at any speed, regardless of the expertise of the crew and despite the efficiency of their communication with towns and cities through which they travel, the general provisions of related bills in the legislature and congress,” Sharp said. “The country’s infrastructure, such as its rails and bridges, are not strong enough or in good enough repair to handle the massive weight and pounding these trains deliver.”

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/02/20/quinault-speak-out-against-oil-trains-rail-cars-smolder-west-virginia-159305

More Oil Trains Could Roll Through Puget Sound To Shell Refinery

More than 100 people attended the hearing in Skagit County for a proposal by Shell Oil to build a rail expansion to receive oil trains at its Anacortes refinery. Matt Krogh

More than 100 people attended the hearing in Skagit County for a proposal by Shell Oil to build a rail expansion to receive oil trains at its Anacortes refinery.
Matt Krogh

 

By Ashley Ahearn, KUOW

Shell Oil wants to build more tracks at its refinery in Anacortes, Washington, to receive oil by rail. At a packed hearing in Skagit County on Thursday, more than 100 people turned up to comment on the proposal.

Shell’s refinery in Anacortes is the last of Washington’s five oil refineries to apply for permits to receive oil by rail from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota.

Skagit County had previously approved the necessary shoreline permits granting the go-ahead to Shell to construct expand rail at its Anacortes refinery to receive mile-long oil trains, six of them per week. Environmental groups appealed the decision, calling for a more comprehensive review of the potential health and environmental impacts.

The room was packed Thursday, when the Skagit County Hearing Examiner heard public comments pertaining to the shoreline development and forest practice permits necessary for Shell to proceed with its proposed expansion.

Roughly 15 oil trains already travel along Puget Sound each week, servicing the US Oil, BP Cherry Point, Phillips66 and Tesoro refineries.

“That’s a lot of trains, with no studies whatsoever about human health impacts, chronic exposure, risks, all that sort of thing.” said Matt Krogh of ForestEthics, which has raised concerns about the increase in oil train traffic in the region. “There’s pent up frustration.”

In November, a car in an oil train arrived at the BP refinery 1,611 gallons short, with an open valve and a missing plug, according to a report from McClatchy, a news organization.

There were 30 Shell refinery employees at the hearing, and six of them registered to give testimony.

The company says that the rail expansion project is not intended to increase the refinery’s capacity but to partially replace crude oil that currently arrives by marine tanker.

“Shell is committed to following the permitting process and taking all appropriate measures to meet rigorous safety and environmental standards,” said Tom Rizzo, Shell Puget Sound Refinery general manager, in an emailed statement. “Shell needs the ability to bring oil in by rail to ensure enough crude to keep the refinery viable so that it can continue to produce gasoline and other fuels for Pacific Northwest consumers, and to generate jobs, economic development and tax revenue for the local community.”

The Skagit County Hearing Examiner will decide whether an environmental review must be conducted before final permits are issued for the Shell Refinery to build the necessary rail spur to receive oil trains.

The Army Corps of Engineers is also reviewing permits for the project.