Sightline Institute adds up oil-by-rail plans for Salish Sea, Grays Harbor, Columbia River.
SEATTLE // The Pacific Northwest stands to see over one million barrels of crude oil per day and more than 100 loaded oil trains per week roll through the region, according to a report released this morning by Sightline Institute.
The report details the 15 refineries and port terminals across Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia that are already operating or in planning or construction stages. All of them are located along the shorelines of the Northwest’s most important waterbodies, including Puget Sound, Grays Harbor, and the Columbia River, where a spill could prove disastrous to wildlife and local jobs
Initially designed to transport and handle light shale oil from the Bakken oil formation in North Dakota, the infrastructure notably could also be used to export heavy Canadian oil. Bakken oil is especially flammable, even after degasification efforts to reduce flammability. Even heavy Canadian crude, previously thought to be safer in transit, has been involved in several fiery derailments in 2015.
Residents and first responders across the Northwest have expressed serious concerns about oil and rail companies’ lack of forthrightness in informing them of oil shipments. This week, they are joining with groups across the country in the Stop Oil Trains Week of Action.
Eric de Place, policy director of Sightline Institute, notes, “I’ve compiled these numbers for three years running, and the plans have only grown in scale. The oil industry plans to flood the Northwest and a few other regions with unprecedented volumes of crude oil bound for distant markets.”
Find the full report on Sightline Institute’s website at sightline.org/OilTrains or read more about it here.
Sightline Institute is an independent think tank providing leading original analysis of energy, economic, and environmental policy in the Pacific Northwest.