Monday, March 2, 2015

Oil Train Roulette

Oil Transport - moving oil through Washington

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Hoquiam residents pressure council on oil
via The Daily World
Crude-by-rail opponents barraged Hoquiam City Council members with questions at Monday night’s meeting as to why the city wasn’t doing more to stop the project from coming to the Harbor.
The concerns from residents come after a train in Mount Carbon, W. Va., carrying 3 million gallons of crude oil derailed and exploded last week. A train in Timmins, Ontario, also derailed nearly two weeks ago, spilling thousands of gallons of crude oil.
Some residents fear the same might happen on Grays Harbor.
Lisa Marie, a Hoquiam resident, started the discussion by asking each council member to provide his or her stance on the issue. Five of the city’s 12 council members responded, three of whom said they were against the project.
“I’ve been asked quite a few times to take a strong position one way or another,” said Ward 4 Councilman Ben Winkelman, adding that he’s learned a lot about the process over the years. “I’m not ready to put on a button or hold up a sign, but I’m still getting informed.”
Ward 1 Councilman John Pellegrini said he would like to see a draft of the environmental impact statement that the state Department of Ecology is spearheading before deciding.
A draft impact statement for the three oil terminals was originally slated for release in March, but has since been pushed back to a June release, City Administrator Brian Shay said.
Richard Pennant of Ward 2, after telling the council he was “adamantly against” crude-by-rail, expressed irritation over his colleagues’ side-stepping of the issue.
“Anybody that’s not answering — how long’s it going to take you to make up your mind?” he asked the other members. “This has been on the table for a couple of years now. I think everybody has had enough time to look into it. It’s a fair question for the people to ask and it warrants an answer from everybody here.”
Ward 5 Councilwoman Denise Anderson and Jasmine Dickhoff of Ward 2 also voiced opposition to oil projects.
Following the poll, Marie criticized members who didn’t respond.
“I think that people who elected you into your positions would be quite disappointed to know that you wouldn’t answer a simple question,” she said.

Oil — The risks outweigh the rewards
via the Daily World
The risk isn’t worth it, for at least three reasons. First is public safety. Last week there were more fireballs from exploding rail cars carrying crude oil, this time in Mount Carbon, W. Va. Oil trains — estimated to be a mile and half long — headed to our port would pass through Elma, Montesano, Aberdeen and Hoquiam, not to mention all the other cities between here and the Bakken oil fields.
Second is the potential for environmental disaster in the harbor and along the ocean beaches from an armada of tankers and barges — not to mention the miles of countryside along the rail line. The third reason is related to the second. We have too much to lose economically if our fishing and tourism industry is coated in oil.

Sulpher Creek & Yakima River Oil Spill
via WA Department of Ecology
 (Information on this site is considered to be accurate at the time of posting, but is subject to change as new information becomes available.)

March 2, 2015, 5:30 p.m.

An over-flight taken by Ecology the afternoon of Monday, March 2, showed the vast majority of the oil released remains in a 7-mile stretch of Sulphur Creek, which is boomed at the confluence with the Yakima River.
A light sheen of oil can be seen for approximately 12 River Miles along the Yakima River between Sulphur Creek and Prosser, with little observed below the Prosser Dam.  

Oil tank fails, spilling oil to Yakima River
YAKIMA – An above-ground storage tank near Sunnyside failed on Sunday, March 1, sending as much as 1,500 gallons of used motor oil into Sulphur Creek and the Yakima River. The spill created a sheen seen as far south as Prosser.
Department of Ecology spill responders Sunday afternoon deployed absorbent pads and protective boom at multiple locations, including about 900 feet upstream from the mouth of Sulphur Creek and at a fish hatchery on the Yakima River in Prosser.

Crude on Derailed Train Contained High Level of Gas
Cargo would have violated new vapor-pressure cap that goes into effect in April
via WSJ
The crude oil aboard the train that derailed and exploded two weeks ago in West Virginia contained so much combustible gas that it would have been barred from rail transport under safety regulations set to go into effect next month.
Tests performed on the oil before the train left North Dakota showed it contained a high level of volatile gases, according to a lab report reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The oil’s vapor pressure, a measure of volatility, was 13.9 pounds per square inch, according to the Feb. 10 report by Intertek Group PLC.
That exceeds the limit of 13.7 psi that North Dakota is set to impose in April on oil moving by truck or rail from the Bakken Shale. Oil producers that don’t treat their crude to remove excess gas face fines and possible civil or criminal penalties, said Alison Ritter, a spokeswoman for the North Dakota Industrial Commission.

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