Sunday, July 12, 2015

Letters to the Editor

This weekend, the Daily World published two important letters. Please write your own LTE and submit. Wouldn't it be great to see an anti-oil letter in each paper they publish?

Not too late to block oil projects
Hoquiam Mayor Jack Durney is either uninformed or is simply engaging in jiggery pokery. In the July 7 Daily World article highlighting his candidacy for mayor of Hoquiam, he says in reference to the crude oil terminals, “Once somebody applies for a permit, they’re in. As far as going through the process, you can’t block it.”

This is completely incorrect and nonsense. The original permits have, in fact, been blocked and the current permit application could also be blocked. And if the majority of the public has anything to say about it, they will be!

If Mayor Durney is being misled by advice from his City Administrator Brian Shay, that presents another problem, as Brian Shay is the final “decider.” If Mr. Shay has made up his mind to approve, before having all the facts and no matter how heinous the impacts might be, then he is doing a great disservice to the people of Grays Harbor and will be held responsible for that. The Washington Department of Ecology is spending countless hours working with the proponents’ consultants developing the Environmental Impact Statement. The public has made its voice heard through their elected representatives that they do not want crude oil to be transported or stored on Grays Harbor.

Why are we going through the environmental impact review if the permits can’t be blocked? Why bother with public hearings?

The City of Hoquiam holds the fate of the future of Grays Harbor in its hands. It has the power to say no. We all need to make sure they do the right thing.

Linda Orgel, Aberdeen

No to oil
July 6 marked the second anniversary of an event which everyone in Grays Harbor should be aware. On July 6, 2013, a parked train carrying Bakken crude oil rolled down a hill, derailed and caught fire in downtown Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. The chain of fires triggered by the derailment devastated the town.
Forty-seven people were killed. Nearly half of the downtown buildings were destroyed; the other half had to be demolished due to toxic oil contamination.
The tragedy at Lac-Mégantic is a reminder of the devastation that a derailment of oil trains traveling through Aberdeen and Hoquiam could bring.
Having a clinic just feet from the railroad tracks makes me concerned for the safety of my patients and staff, should there be a derailment, as well as any other businesses or residences close to the tracks.
Add to the trains the compounding danger of the storage facilities at our port, which if built would put many of our community’s people and community resources in grave danger.
There are three proposed oil terminals in Grays Harbor. Together they would bring over 150,000 barrels of oil daily through our communities. That’s three loaded oil trains a day. That’s a risk that we’re not willing to take.
We are especially concerned about the human health and safety issues at stake if the three proposed oil terminal facilities are constructed on Grays Harbor. Whether triggered by equipment failure, human error or an earthquake and subsequent tsunami, huge risks of fire exist at rail terminal facilities that would store hundreds of thousands of barrels of volatile crude oil from the Bakken region in North Dakota and Montana.
Assuming the oil makes it safely through our community by train, it still must travel over our water. Again this is more than 150,000 barrels of oil a day. One accident could mean an oil spill to rival the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska.
We know too many people whose livelihoods are dependent on our water for this to make sense.
Physicians have traditionally employed the Prevention Principle in cases where dangers are known to exist. What we cannot cure — and surely, we cannot cure the deaths and severe burn injuries that could result from a major derailment or terminal fire — we must prevent. Lac-Mégantic and numerous other accidents have shown us that derailments, oil spills and explosions at petroleum handling facilities are known to occur.
Let us honor the victims of Lac-Mégantic by vowing to protect our own families and neighbors and speaking up to oppose crude oil handling facilities on Grays Harbor.
Over 300 health care professionals from all along the rail line, including Grays Harbor, have signed a letter opposing these proposed crude by rail terminals. And we are in good company with many leaders around the region, including elected officials, faith leaders, First Nations, fishermen and women, business leaders and concerned parents and grandparents.
We expect the hearings about these proposed crude by rail terminals to happen in the next month. To find out more and get involved, go to
Dr. Susan Ruyle and Angelique Rosche
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