Friday, September 1, 2017

Off The Table!

Now, the City of Hoquiam needs to revoke the Crude Oil permits, and ensure Crude Oil will never be shipped from Grays Harbor.

Port officials: Crude oil no longer in plans

The Port of Grays Harbor gave an annual report to the Ocean Shores City Council on Monday night and the issue of shipping crude oil by rail and sea was “off the table” for the first time in four years.
Port officials said that both pending crude oil proposals by current Port tenants Contanda Grays Harbor (formerly Westway Terminals) and REG (formerly Imperium Renewables) have been abandoned and the companies are seeking to ship other products instead.
“Both Contanda and REG have taken crude oil off the lists of commodities that they handle, so there are no longer any crude oil projects in Grays Harbor,” said Kayla Dunlap, the Port’s public affairs manager.
REG and Contanda “have both stepped back, stepped away from doing crude and are pursuing other directions for their sites, and those are the only two that were left,” added Port General Manager Gary Nelson. “I think you can say that crude oil is no longer on the table for either company.”
The city of Ocean Shores, mayor and council had been on record officially opposing the shipping of crude oil on the grounds of potential environmental catastrophe should a spill occur off the coast or along rail lines.
The Port’s marine terminals and Harbor navigation services provide about 80 percent of the public agency’s annual operating revenues, projected to be about $25 million in 2017. The Port also handles the operation at the Satsop Business Park.
This year, it is expected that there will be 100 vessel calls to the Port, which is in keeping with a steady increase over the normal of 20-40 vessel calls of a decade ago, Dunlap said.
“That’s a good problem to have,” she said.
The Port is seeking to expand as well, expressing interest in the former pontoon-building site owned and used by the Washington Department of Transportation to build the pontoons in the Interstate 520 bridge project that has been completed in Seattle. The site is just east of the Port’s Terminal 4 in Aberdeen. Other expansion being considered is the former Grays Harbor Paper site, also adjacent to Port property.
The AGP company seeks to continue to expand its grain export business, Dunlap said, along with expansion plans from REG (Renewable Energy Group), which currently has a 100 million gallon per year biorefinery for bio-fuels.
“Whether that is a new refinery or some kind of storage capacity to support what they currently do, hopefully we’ll have some answers soon on that,” Dunlap said of the REG expansion. “It would be a significant investment in Grays Harbor.”
Contanda also is looking at expanding to handle several other liquid bulk products, not crude oil, Dunlap added, saying permits are expected to be submitted soon.
Also, there is a developing proposal to ship potash through Terminal 3 in Hoquiam by Australian mining company BHP Billton. Potash is sodium chloride and used for fertilizer, Dunlap said. It is mined in Canada and would be shipped by rail to the Port of Grays Harbor and then on to Asian countries.
If all the expansions are approved, it will be about a $1 billion in the local economy, Dunlap said.
One of the big questions in Ocean Shores was what the Port is doing for the city, which has no Port facilities and yet supplies a large portion of the property tax revenue the Port also receives.
“Is there anything you are working on in Ocean Shores that would actually help us?” City Councilman Jon Martin asked.

Nelson noted the Port continues to work with the city and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on a long-term solution to shoreline erosion around the North Jetty.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Justice for Lac Megantic

July 11, Citizens for a Clean Harbor held a benefit for the Harding Labrie Defense Fund, and raised $135. Thank you to everyone involved!

For background on the case, listen to this radio interview from Your Rights at Work! via Pacifica Radio
Herbert Harris Jr (Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers &
Trainmen) reports on a local fundraiser to support Canadian rail workers being blamed for management’s mistakes in the 2013 Lac Megantic disaster.
Interview begins at 14.40
Our own Donna Albert sang this song for us.

Special thanks go to Fritz Edler of Railroad Workers United, for all his help and insightful discussion via Skype.

The Evidence is in: The Train Crew did not Cause the Lac-Mégantic Tragedy
Music Benefit for Lac-Mégantic Rail Worker Defense a great success!
Over $1700 raised kicking off fund drive for defense of the scapegoated rail workers and fighting for safe rails everywhere.

How many more have to die?

July 6th this year marks four years since a runaway train carrying volatile Bakken crude crashed and burned in the small town of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, killing 47 and destroying half the town. It’s time to recommit to making sure tragedies like this don’t happen again. It’s also the right time to speak up against the criminal trial beginning September 11th this year, that unfairly and inaccurately hangs the Lac-Mégantic crash on two railroad workers, Tom Harding and Richard Labrie.
Railroad managers push hard to squeeze every dollar they can out of every train run. The Lac-Mégantic train had a dangerous cargo, overlong train, defective equipment, a single crew-member and work rules that cut the margin of safety down to just about zero. The result was a disaster that still impacts the Lac-Mégantic community.
Multiple government safety investigations and independent journalists looked at what happened in Lac-Mégantic and came to the same conclusion. Railroad management policies made this kind of runaway train crash likely to happen sooner or later. Lax government oversight looked the other way until it did.
You would think that four years later there would be stronger safety regulations on every railroad, with extra layers of protection for dangerous cargo. Sadly, this is not the case. Railroad policymakers are still cutting corners and government regulators are still looking the other way. They want people to believe that the big safety problem is a few careless railroad workers.  But in Lac-Mégantic, SINCE the wreck, the supposedly safely restored wreck curve has now deteriorated and keeps that community at risk.  Everyone there tightens up when a train passes now.
Even after all the reports and exposes, the Canadian and Quebec governments are still not going after the railroad policy makers and their unsafe policies. The managers who made the critical policies will not even get a slap on the wrist. That’s just wrong, and it guarantees that the danger continues. Every year since the crash, the number of reported runaway trains in Canada has increased. That’s a sign of a reckless culture, not the actions of two rail-road workers one night in Quebec.
Whether your main issue is the environment, community safety, rail safety, or worker’s rights, it comes down to stronger government regulations and stronger railroad safety policies, with real community and labor enforcement. The two railroad workers were not the cause of the Lac-Mégantic crash or any of the runaway trains since then. They are not the ones still running trains right through the town of Lac-Mégantic, ignoring the demands of the survivors for a simple rail bypass. The people in Lac-Mégantic know that sending Harding and Labrie to prison won’t address any of their problems with the railroad. But if that happens, you can bet the government will close the book as the official verdict on Lac-Mégantic and railroad management will be standing there with them.
When you hold public commemorations this year, we ask you to make this point your way. Blaming Harding and Labrie for the Lac-Mégantic tragedy weakens all of us and all our causes. So all of us have to speak up.

Justice for Lac-Mégantic requires Dropping the Charges Against Harding & Labrie

see page 2 for more from Lac Megantic

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Hands Across The Sands

This year we will meet up at the Jetty at Ocean Shores.
The Jetty is located at the south end of Ocean Shores Boulevard SW. Parking is limited, so we can meet at the Convention Center at 11am, and carpool down to the Jetty.
At Noon, we join hands for photos.
People around the globe will link hands at Noon in their time zones to say
"No! to dirty Fossil Fuels and Yes! to clean energy."

Here are some pictures from Westport, 2016

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Grays Harbor County Coastal Futures Workshop

Hello Grays Harbor Co. Stakeholders,

Please save a date for April 18th 4-7pm at Grays Harbor College for the next in person workshop. A detailed agenda will follow, but for now we will plan to review the modeling progress we’ve made since we last met in June, including a walk through the initial scenario results.

Next Workshop:
Grays Harbor County Coastal Futures - Initial Results Meeting 
Date - April 18, 2017
Time - 4-7pm
Location - Grays Harbor College, Room 4134 
Light refreshments provided
Agenda to follow

Also, thank you to everyone who participated in the coastal development and planning questionnaire.  We will be following up with those of you who volunteered to participate in the Coastal Development and Planning work group to review the survey results (anonymous) and make decisions on how we will move forward on a few last details.  

We are looking forward to seeing you in April.

John and the CIRC team
John Stevenson
Regional Extension Climate Specialist
PNW Climate Impacts Research Consortium (CIRC)
Oregon Sea Grant Extension
Twitter: @CIRC_Extension

Friday, April 7, 2017

April Calendar

We have a lot Events packed into the next weeks, here's a handy list with links.
Solutionary Rail April 20, 6pm at The Furford Center, 104 So Chehalis Street in Aberdeen (Entrance is at the rear of the building) 
Solutionary Rail is a Just Transition proposal for a green energy future, uniting diverse stakeholders, powering trains with clean renewable energy, and using railroad rights of way for high voltage transmission of wind and solar power. Learn more about this visionary yet do-able plan to decarbonize our transportation and energy infrastructure at

Awake, A Dream from Standing Rock April 25, 7pm at Events on Emerson, 4th and Emerson Street, Hoquiam (Free to the public, donations happily accepted for the Indigenous Media Fund and Pipeline Fighters Fund.)
In 2016, Standing Rock, North Dakota became one of the most watched places on earth. Josh Fox James Spione Myron Dewey Digital Smoke Signals are honored to present a new documentary 'AWAKE, A Dream From Standing Rock,' which captures some of the many stories of the Native-led resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline, which forever changed the way people approach the fight for Indigenous sovereignty and the resistance to fossil fuel infrastructure, Big Oil and climate change.

Science Event at Grays Harbor College

The People's Climate March for Climate, Jobs, & Justice April 29, 1pm Zelasko Park, between Heron & Wishkah at F Street, Aberdeen. 
This is a sister march in solidarity with the Washington DC March.
Join our 4th annual rally at Zelasko Park for music, Solar and Wind displays and speakers. Then we will gather tamborines, cowbells, drums, kazoos & train whistles as our People's Marching Band travels along Heron, cross to Wishkah and return to the rally. Free & Kid friendly! 
email Tammy for more info and Art Build times.

Indigenous Climate Justice Symposium at Evergreen Longhouse May 4-5, 10am, 2700 Evergreen Parkway NW, Olympia.
The 2nd annual Indigenous Climate Justice Symposium will be held on Thursday, May 4 and Friday, May 5 in The Evergreen State College's Longhouse Education and Cultural Center. This year the Symposium theme is “A Time for Gathering.” The event is free and open to the public.

May 5-7, Hoquiam. After all that, you deserve to see what we are fighting to protect, so head over to Bowerman Basin and walk the Sandpiper trail at Grays Harbor Shorebirds and Nature Festival.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Supreme Court finds in favor of ORMA- Major Win!

Quinault Indian Nation via QIN Environmental Defense
WA Supreme Court Decision Blocks Remaining Grays Harbor Crude-by-Rail Terminal:
State high court justices rule protections in vital coastal resources law applies
Olympia, WA—Today, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled a state law that protects coastal resources applies to crude oil export projects proposed in Grays Harbor. The decision will block the last proposed crude-by-rail terminal in Hoquiam, a project that planned to move millions of gallons of crude oil out of Grays Harbor and through Washington’s open ocean every year.
“The Quinault Indian Nation joins all of Grays Harbor in celebrating today’s monumental victory to keep crude oil out of our shared waters and ancestral territory,” said Fawn Sharp, President of the Quinault Indian Nation. “Like so many of our neighbors across the county, we envision a healthy and pristine natural environment and a thriving, clean, and sustainable economy. After four very long years of fighting for those basic ideals, today’s decision is a significant step toward achieving our collective vision.”
The state high court justices overturned a lower court ruling that the Ocean Resources Management Act (ORMA) did not apply to oil shipping terminals. The Court held:
“ORMA is designed to address environmental threats to our coastal waters and specifically addresses the threats posed by increased expansion of the fossil fuel industry along the Pacific Coast. … The language of the statute indicates that the legislature intended it to combat current environmental dangers and to preemptively protect the coastline from future environmental risks.”
“The Court honored a law enacted to protect our natural ocean resources from oil shipping,” said Kristen Boyles, the Earthjustice attorney who argued the case for the Tribe and conservation groups. “Today’s decision not only revives state ocean protections, but effectively blocks proposed oil shipping terminals from being built in Grays Harbor.”
“We know what we have here in Grays Harbor with our active commercial, recreational, and tribal fishing fleets, our beautiful beaches that draw families to explore, play, and relax, and our coastal waters that support thousands of migrating seabirds every year,” said R.D. Grunbaum, Friends of Grays Harbor. “These natural resources and values are simply incompatible with industrial oil shipping.”
“This is a strong decision protecting and preserving coastal communities now and into the future,” said Dale Beasley, President of the Coalition of Coastal Fisheries, a group that includes Washington commercial fishermen, oyster growers, and charter boat operators. “Today’s decision gives commercial fishermen another handle to protect our livelihoods.”
In late 2013, the Quinault Indian Nation, Friends of Grays Harbor, Sierra Club, Grays Harbor Audubon, and Citizens for a Clean Harbor (co-counseled by Earthjustice attorneys Kristen Boyles and Matt Baca and Knoll Lowney of Smith and Lowney) successfully challenged the initial permits issued for oil shipping terminal projects in Grays Harbor, forcing further public safety and environmental review. Two of the three initial proposals dropped out, leaving the Westway (recently renamed Contanda) Terminal project as the only active proposal. The Final Environmental Impact Statement for Westway, issued in September 2016, found that there were significant harms and risks from the oil shipping terminal that could not be mitigated, even though it did not take into account the tighter standards demanded of projects under ORMA. The City of Hoquiam is currently making a decision on Westway’s permit application.
With today’s Supreme Court decision, ORMA’s protective standards must now be applied, and Westway simply will not be able to meet those higher requirements.
• The Washington Department of Ecology found that these projects create serious and harmful risks of oil spills, collisions, derailments, fires, and explosions that would cause significant and unavoidable environmental damage.
• An economic study commissioned by the Quinault Indian Nation found that a major oil spill could put more than 150 tribal commercial fishermen out of a job, resulting in a direct loss of as much as $20 million in wages and up to $70 million in revenue for affected businesses.
• Marine resource jobs support more than 30% of Grays Harbor’s workforce according to a 2013 study by the University of Washington.
• In 2014 Washington residents took an estimated 4.1 million trips to the Washington Coast spending $481 million according to a recent study. More than one-third of those visits were to Grays Harbor County to enjoy its spectacular and productive coastal and ocean waters.
• The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife stated “Grays Harbor is an area particularly sensitive to the adverse effects of oil spills.”

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

DeSmogBlog on Crude Oil Volatility

Oil-By-Rail Regulators Consider Crude Oil Volatility Limits That Would Require Oil Stabilization

In July 2015, a train carrying Bakken crude oil derailed in Culbertson, Montana resulting in an oil spill of 35,000 gallons - more than the contents of a full rail tank car. But unlike all of the other Bakken train accidents where large amounts of oil were spilled something odd happened. There was no explosion or…