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…

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Standing with Standing Rock

For Immediate Release
TAHOLAH, WA (11/2/16)—The Quinault Indian Nation has written to Governor Jack Dalrymple and Lt. Governor Drew Wrigley of North Dakota, United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Assistant Secretary of the Army Jo-Ellen Darcy in support of water protectors opposing the Dakota Annex Pipeline, according to Quinault President Fawn Sharp.
            “The Quinault Nation stands in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe,” said President Sharp. The protest has drawn the attention and actions of more than 200 tribes. More than 2,000 water protectors have been on-site and support rallies have been conducted in cities across the country.
            “The situation at Standing Rock is a prime example of the need to fundamentally change relationships between the United States and Tribal Nations. For years, we have sought to resolve concerns through open, respectful dialogue. The United States has a responsibility and duty to honor our treaties which are part of the supreme law of the land under the Constitution and to work with us on a government-to-government basis. That responsibility includes protection from the types of out-of-control, militaristic actions being taken against peaceful protestors in North Dakota.  The protestors are seeking to prevent catastrophic damage to water and cultural resources and the right to be consulted and engage in meaningful dialogue before irreparable harm occurs. To us, a meaningful relationship is defined by a mutual understanding that no one sovereign can take unilateral action affecting the lands, territories, or people of another sovereign and certainly not over that sovereign’s objections and without the other's consent.  We need real progress and acknowledgment of and respect for sovereign rights and true adherence to our treaties and the Federal Trust Responsibility.  A true dialogue between sovereign nations is an absolute necessity.  Quinault formally requested a government-to-government discussion on our proposed framework with the Obama Administration three years ago.  We are still awaiting their response,” said Sharp.
            The late Joe DeLaCruz, long time President of Quinault Nation once said, “"No right is more sacred to a nation, to a people, than the right to freely determine its social, economic, political and cultural future without external interference. The fullest expression of this right occurs when a nation freely governs itself. We call the exercise of this right self-determination. The practice of this right is self-government."
            “It’s time for tribes to receive the respect, acknowledgment and treatment we deserve as the sovereign governments we are, and always have been. The civil rights violations taking place in North Dakota—the arrests, the gassing, the clubbing—is outside interference with our constitutionally supported nation-to-nation relationship with the United States. It must be stop,” said Sharp.
            The Quinault letter to Governor Dalrymple and Lt. Governor Wrigley, signed by Sharp, urged the recall of the National Guard and a halt of the interference with the protestors’ First Amendment Constitutional rights to free speech. “The presence of the National Guard has escalated violence and put human safety at risk. Your immediate action is critical to de-escalate the violence and safeguard the lives of all of those present,” it said.
            The letter to Attorney General Lynch urged immediate action to protect the safety of those protesting the devastation to their sacred land and to help reduce tensions by sending observers to the protest site. It said this would help safeguard the protectors of water and land, and will protect their First Amendment Constitutional rights to free speech. “Your action is critical to fulfilling your trust and treaty obligations to protect tribal lands, waters, and sacred places,” wrote President Sharp.
            The letter to Assistant Secretary Darcy called for an immediate Stop Work Order halting construction within a mile between Highway 1806 and the Missouri River to protect the safety of those protesting the devastation to their sacred land. “We urge that a temporary Stop Work Order remain in effect until the Army Corps of Engineers makes its decision regarding the Lake Oahe easement. Such action will de-escalate the violence and safeguard the lives of all of those present. Your action is critical to fulfilling your trust and treaty obligations to protect tribal lands, waters, and sacred places,” wrote Sharp.
            The Quinault letters were mailed yesterday. On Friday, the National Congress of American Indians, which represents 550 tribes nationwide, had issued the following statement.
            "The actions by law enforcement in North Dakota are shocking and the NCAI community is at a loss trying to grasp the events of yesterday's attack on protectors gathered to defend water rights, lands, and sacred places. We are working closely with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as they strive for peace during this difficult time. The Army Corps has a tremendous amount of responsibility for this conflict.  Despite federal laws and Executive Order, the permitting process for the Dakota Access Pipeline was anything but transparent, tribal consultation did not occur, and even the Department of the Interior's concerns over tribal water supplies and cultural resources were ignored. We call on the Army Corps of Engineers to deploy an immediate "stop order" on the Dakota Access Pipeline, deny the easement, and conduct a full environmental impact study. We also call on the Department of Justice to take immediate steps to ensure the safety of thousands of Native protectors and allies. We will not stand for the continued violation of our First Amendment rights and Tribal Sovereign rights. Enough is enough."

CONTACT:    Steve Robinson  
(360) 951-2494     

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Washington Supreme Courts Hears Ocean Resources arguments

Today Washington State Supreme Court heard Ocean Resources Management Act (ORMA) arguments from the Quinault, and our, lawyer, Kristen Boyles. We are so privileged  to have them both!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Other Shoe Has Dropped - FEIS and Shoreline Permit

The City of Hoquiam and the Department of Ecology has released the Final Environmental Impact Statement.
At this point, there is no comment period on this final document.
You can take action by sending a letter to Mayor Jasmine Dickhoff & City Administrator Brian Shay at our website, http://www.cleanharbor.org/ Feel free to add your own comment to the letter.
Our friends at the National Audubon Society also have an action page, that as of yesterday has generated 10,216 letters. Please use these links in your social media, with the hashtag #nowestway

On Oct 13, the City will issue the Notice of Westway's Application for Shoreline Substantial Development Permit and you will be able to download it. The first publication of this Notice in the City's official newspaper will be on Oct 13, and the Second publication will be on Oct 20. Comments will be taken on the Shorelines application from Oct 13 until Nov 19. 
This is not a decision yet. It is the first step in the process. 

The city should use the findings of the F.E.I.S. to deny this first permit in the process, and stop all the dominoes behind it. 
The F.E.I.S shows 35 instances where they comment that there are unavoidable impacts. Twelve times they’ve answer “yes” to that question and that it cannot be mitigated. 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Stunning 2 Percent In Favor of Oil Terminals on Grays Harbor!

I spent some time today going through 902 Public Comments. Most of these received a "Comment noted" in response, because they did not formulate a question to be answered. With the exception of Jon Meyer (who seems unable to remember how to spell his name) none of the comments offer much of substance. In contrast, the comments urging the projects not to happen were well researched and substantive. I thank everyone for taking the time to present such well grounded arguments.

* The actual figure is 2.2173%. Of the 902 comments, only 20 were for the terminals. Post has been edited to reflect 2% in favor.
(photo provided for reference only)
Pro-Comments in the General Pubic Comment section:
GP 29, pg 42: Alwood, David (H2Oasis, Inc.) I'm in favor of allowing expansion of facilities to transfer oil products through G.H., given the size of reserves, we as citizens would be remiss if we failed to take advantage of such a financial windfall.

GP 111, pg 180: Name: Ray L. Brown City/State/Zip: Westpoint, WA 98595 My comments relate to both the Westway and Imperium Draft EISs. These projects will bring much needed jobs and commerce to the area. In addition these companies have many people in leadership that have expertise in economic development. Plus they have networks that stretch around the world, energy is a universal language. Economic development skills, jobs, networking sounds good to me! Mitigation is a simple mater of engineering. Stop with the fear mongering already!!

GP 112, pg 181 Good afternoon. My name is Ray Brown, I live in Westport, Grays Harbor Canyon, United States of America. City of Hoquiam Washington State Department of Ecology Responses to Comments Chapter 6, General Public Westway Expansion Project Final Environmental Impact Statement 6-181 September 2016 ICF 00138.14 I fully support these projects, all three of them actually. And it goes well beyond the jobs and, you know, the temporary jobs, the permanent jobs. These companies are loaded with leadership that has a lot of skill and economic development, and they have that pretty much go around the world. That would be of tremendous benefit. We can leverage that knowledge here in Grays Harbor County, I believe, and bring a lot more economic development to the harbor, not just the immediate jobs that will come from these projects. I think it’s ironic that we stand here in the rubble of an energy project that was defeated by the engineers many years ago. We’ve seen the disaster that resulted from that and the loss of revenue, the loss of jobs, prestige. I mean, we could have been the center of the universe in terms of the nuclear power of these projects and continue. It’s unfortunate that they did not, but we can correct that mistake by continuing this project. I think mitigation is the simple matter of engineering. I think any and all of those problems are easily overcome. Again, I’d like to see these projects go ahead. I’d like to work with the companies that are going to bring these projects to town, to the county, and I think it would be a tremendous benefit to everybody in the county if we did that. Thank you.

GP 113, pg 181 Hello, my name is Ray Brown. I live in Westport, which is actually a part of Grays Harbor County. What are we really talking about here? We are talking about adding a few more tanks to already existing tank farms. Most would be hard-pressed to tell the difference when the construction is complete. This project will not go from zero to 60 instantly. This will develop slowly over a period of time. We need to calm down here. As permits are issued, contracts will be signed with the promise of future business financing can be arranged. Construction can begin and it takes a certain amount of time. Rail companies will see more business coming their way and operations will increase. Trains will go as they always have, carrying hazardous material as they always have. As issues crop up, there will be plenty of time to deal with them and figure things out, because the hysteria surrounding this issue is just that, hysteria. There are over 70,000 living in this county and all of them will be benefitted by this project, some directly, some indirectly. We need these jobs. We need the business. More importantly, we need the economic development that these companies will bring with them. Energy is an international language and these companies speak that language fluently. I urge you to issue the permits. Thank you very much.

GP 121, pg 188  Burns, Daniel I am in support of the project. 1. Rail is the safest mode of transportation of goods and services. 2. This will bring money and jobs to the Harbor. 3. This oil is going somewhere, so we are not protecting the environment by stopping the Grays Harbor proposal, the oil will just go elsewhere, to another community and bring them money and jobs so lets bring the money to Grays Harbor where it is desperately needed. 4. If the QIN can put a Gas station on the edge of the Wishkah river then the QIN have no basis to stand against this project over environmental concerns. Please allow this project to continue.

GP 125, pg 189 Campbell, Kevin  I have operated and managed tugboats in Grays Harbor for 30 plus years. At the beginning of my career Grays Harbor received twice as many vessel calls per year as we currently do. During the years of 250 plus vessel calls plus tug and barge traffic we never have had an incident in the Grays Harbor channel which proves that Grays Harbor is a safe harbor for increased vessel traffic. Brusco Tug and Barge within the last two years has positioned State of the art ASD tractor tugboats that substantially increases safety and provides escort tugboats that are capable of being tethered to vessels while underway. I believe that Grays Harbor is very well suited for increased vessel traffic including oil tankers and ATB vessel and in need of the increased traffic to utilize the equipment that is presently available to vessels calling Grays Harbor

GP 174, pg 225 D Dave I think it’s great to see the harbor get more opportunities for family wage jobs. It seems to me that those that are oppose to oil, factories or any other jobs that pay well are the people paying minimum wages to the majority of there employees. I don’t remember a comment period when the Quinault tribe decide to bury large diesel and gas tanks in the bank of the Wishka river? As far as oil tankers I think we need the business. Make safety a priority but stop blocking the ports ability to grow. We have lost hundreds of family wage jobs in grays harbor and I don’t think tourism or casinos paying minimum wages is going to turn things around. We need to stand up against these people putting their special interest ahead of the common good these industries can bring to us. I have three children raised here on the harbor and they are all looking to go elsewhere because of the lack of good jobs and wages. We need jobs. Stop killing good opportunities or all our children will be leaving

GP 188, pg 237  Deakin, Dave We need growth in the harbor most of our jobs at least the ones that pay good have gone away like the timber industries. if you were trying to open a new mill we would have the same protesters fighting that. My point is this we need to allow expansions of these companies and others. We can’t all work for minimum wages and expect our community to survive. We all know that oil is flammable and yes sometimes it even explodes in very rare cases. So does gas, propane and saw dust. Safety is what I’m concerned about we need to allow the companies that want to ship oil make the upgrades to our aging rails. Some of the bridges are so rusted that I don’t even fish under them due to the rusted out beams. But who’s got the money to fix the problem? big oil. I say fix the rails, use safe tank cars and if you have any openings give me a call I have three people unemployed in my house that want to work for more than minimum wages. Pump away and stop listening to people who don’t pay taxes to our county, port or city. We need good jobs bring in a couple refineries too I’m serious thanks for your time

GP 196, pg244  Dilsaver, Erin I am in support of this project. it would mean jobs for the area and oil transportation by train is the safest way to transport. if people really cared about it negatively they would stop driving cars and they don't.

GP 306, pg 443 My name is Zoltan Grossman. I’m a geography professor at the Evergreen State College, and I’d like to speak in favor of the two oil terminals. Just kidding. I just wanted to see what that sounded like.

GP 313, pg 448 Hancock, Ray As long as the initiators and heirs of these projects are proposing a default bond, significant enough to cover any eventuality upon failure or abandon of these sites; and all environmental requirements are in compliance, I support these projects. Bringing jobs and economy to WA should be foremost to all. Environmental impacts are a fact of life and everyone should be a good steward to their environment even big business. It is a huge problem in WA State especially that the tax payers are on the hook for the environmental failings of big business. All that can be done should be done to assure the project owners are wholly responsible for cleanup due to failure or abandon of these types of sights in perpetuity.

GP 356, pg 497  Isaacson, Tom if the railroad system passes the all the safety requirements & the piping & tank farms also pass the requirements...than oil by rail is okay.

GP 419, pg 570  Luck, Vickie  I am for both

GP 430, pg 580  Marthaller, John Considering the economic impact of oil development in North Dakotas Bakken; I think the oil storage facilities should be expanded as requested. The economic benefits of the Bakken have City of Hoquiam spread from Coast to Coast across America. It should not be blocked from the citizens of Washington State because of the wishes of a loud minority who wants to push civilization back to the pre-fire days.

GP 452, pg 605  Megargle, Paul I SUPPORT the project. I want to see more bio diesel and bio jet fuel available, I want more jobs in Grays Harbor. Westway and Imperium have a very good track record of Safety. I would be proud to work with them or for them. I live and raise my family in the immediate area. I also think it’s better to have the products going here rather than Puget Sound.

GP 464, pg 612  My name is John Meyer. I live in Marquam, Washington, Grays Harbor County. I was employed for 27 years in the operations end of the railroad business, and I just have two things that I think the EIS would benefit from mentioning. Number one, with regard to train delays, out at the mall particularly, they did a very good job of talking about how long the delays are. I would posit that if they would mention that if the track speed was raised to 20 miles an hour, a one-mile-long train would only occupy a crossing for three minutes. The problem they have now is there’s a five-mile-an-hour speed restriction over the Wichita River draw. And once that’s repaired, and if you put lights and gates on the crossing, you could have a whistle-free zone and the Federal Railroad Administration is all for them.  Second of all, there’s been constant comment and full magnum of fear in the process of this with regard to the -- they keep mentioning the Canadian derailment where all the people were killed. It would help if they mentioned that cannot happen in this project. The track is flat. That train was sitting on a hill of such steepness and duration, the train got up to over 60 miles an hour before it went to a flat curve at the bottom and derailed, although the engines made it around into a town full of LPG. That’s how they heat it. And everything started blowing up. We cannot have any kind of derailment of that magnitude anywhere in this flat area here. It won’t happen, can’t happen, and we ought to quit fulminating the fear and hysteria that’s being used in the media in order to derail this project here. Thank you.

GP 465, pg 613 Meyer, Jon My name is Jon Meyer. I was employed in the railroad industry in operations for 27 years. At one point, I was the division trainmaster for the Burlington Northern Railroad, and my territory included the mainline tracks between Astoria, Oregon and Wishram, Washington following the Columbia River by and large. One morning, during a conference call, I was alerted to the fact that we had a derailment of Train 691, a Pasco/Tacoma mixed freight train, that had derailed in the vicinity of the Wind River Bridge and partially into the Columbia River and two tank cars of oil were involved, two or three. We sent a copy of the wheel report of all of the train list to the relevant public officials in that county including where all of the hazardous cars were and the hazardous handling response forms for each of those commodities. By the time I got up there, our contractors had already spread the absorbant materials to -- in case of leakage on the Columbia River. The railroad keeps those kinds of materials stashed in containers along the right-of-way, and we have contractors available, 24-hour calls, on call. When I got up there, I determined that it was either two or three tank cars of oil had -- were part of the derailment. They didn’t cause it, but they were part of it, and they had ricochetted off of the abutment of the bridge of the Wind River where it joins the Columbia. This is right next to Drano Lake. The cars then rolled down the embankment approximately 50 feet down rip rap rock and landed in the Columbia River with such a splash that one of the trollers, salmon trollers, claimed we drowned out his engines. That wasn’t the case. Other fishermen told us that he couldn’t get them started before the wreck happened, and I would have had him arrested by our special agents, but we had a lot more fish to fry at that point. It was determined that there was no leakage of these cars, and we proceeded to pick up the derailment and open the mainline. This took approximately a day and a half. I remember that we had at least 25 public officials there concerned about the Gorge and the river and the tank cars, among other things. After about a day and a half, a van pulled up and it had two sets of scuba divers in it, two teams. We had to use two because it was so deep there that they would get the bends if they didn’t decompress on their way up. Shortly thereafter, a barge crane that I had hired -- I think from Rydell International, but I can’t be sure. I can’t remember for sure -- showed up with this tugboat, and we proceeded to raise the tank cars up and laid them on their sides on top of the empty barge that was brought up as well. We then sent the equipment back down the river, and when we got to Portland, we arranged to take the tank cars off of the barge, place them back on wheels, repair the safety appliances, the air brakes, etcetera, on the cars, and we shipped them off to their city. My point in relating this to you is despite the hysteria and knowingly false information being promulgated by the opponents of this project, things did not always blow up and kill people. In fact, I don’t think there’s been a death or much of an injury in the United States from the few derailed cars, and we ship over 500,000 tank cars of oil a year. The only death toll was in Canada where 44 or so people lost their lives, and that was due to several gross rule violations by the engineer and the single employee on the train. Parking a train on a hill of such grade and duration that the train reached speeds in excess of 60 miles an hour before they got to the curve at the bottom of the hill in the town. The locomotives made it around the corner, and then the tank cars started to derail. Subsequently, with the train still on the hill and still moving at 60, it caused a massive pileup and fire. It should be noted that the town this occurred in is very isolated and relied upon propane gas for their heating, and the town was full of propane, outdoor propane tanks, which I believe contributed to the explosions and the damage. And I’d just like this to be made aware so we don’t all get caught up in the fear and hyperbole that’s being promulgated to stop this project. Thank you. P.S. This is approximately 1995, my name is Jon, J-O-N, Meyer, M-E-Y-E-R, phone number (360) 648-2395.

GP 466, pg 615 Name: Jon Meyer Organization Name: 9 Johns River Ln City: Aberdeen State: WA Zip 98520 Date: 11-25-15 Olympic Gateway Plaza Traffic The trains currently are required to go 5 mph over the Wishka River Swing Bridge. Repairing this bridge to industry standards of 20 mph would allow a 1 mile long train to only black a crossing for 3 minutes. Installing lights and gates with minor crossing improvements would allow a “whistle free zone” to be approved by the F.R.A., which encourages this with financial aid. Oil Spills or Explosions during Derailment The wreck in Canada happened as a result of a flagrant rule violation, flawed corporate policy, and topography unique to the area. These do not exist here. The fear and hysteria over this incident has been dishonestly used by the groups opposed to this project, the official report issued by Canada’s transport ministry shows that the engineer did not apply enough handbrakes, that fire department members put out a fire on the lead locomotive, that as a result of this the locomotive’s engine was stopped, that this allowed the air brakes on the engines to become ineffective, and when this happened the unattended train rolled down a very steep hill that it had been parked on. The train was going over 60 mph when it went around an unbanked curve at the bottom. The engines and some cars made it around the curve, spreading the rail causing the following cars to derail with the rest of the train still on the hill pushing into the pile. This cannot happen here. Please do not allow the hyperbole deliberately fostered by opponents to influence your report. Thanks, J. Z. Meyer.


GP 485, pg 723 Fred Rapp RECEIVED NOV 2 4 2015 To: Westway and lmperium Terminal Services Expansion Projects EISs I live in Elma, WA and have trains going through every day.I understand the heaviest cars are those with grain. Hundreds of cars loaded for export go through daily. WE have lived through the fear mongers who killed the Nuclear power plants at Satsop. Now the anti people are trying to sell us on the idea that because there have been spills in Canada and Georgia, we should live with the fear that it will happen here. I secured the report from the State of Washington about spills that have occurred in our state the last three years. The largest spill I saw on the report appeared to be at a refinery in Skagit county.It appeared that most of the spills were with either commercial or recreational boats. Of the spills on land, trucks seemed to have the most. Our Railroad, Puget Sound and Pacific, has spent millions of dollars to be sure they don’t spill and can run safely and efficiently. Our EPA has been very effective in keeping us safe and clean. This review is trying to determine if we can safely process more oil, it appears to me that we are doing an excellent job. The anti-people were successful in stopping the Nuclear plants at Satsop. This same plant was built in Texas, safely and within the budget. We have heard no problems from it. 90% of the power in France is Nuclear. How long has it been since we have heard any problem with them? These two companies have proven over many years they know how to handle the cargo they store and ship. Washington is far ahead of many of the states in protecting our environment.I believe that fear mongers are simply trying to make it impossible for our industries to expand. Than. you for listening. Fred Rapp P.O. Box 270 Elma, WA 98541 360 4812842

GP 831, pg 1,000 Williams, Steve Good afternoon. Thank you for the opportunity to speak today on our proposed project. I’m Steve Williams, Terminal Manager of Westway Grays Harbor. I’m also a Hoquiam native, and I’m proud to be a part of this community. Part of Grays Harbor since 2009, Westway has provided bulk liquid storage, third-party distribution and related services. Our company has been in business for 60 years, and we have dealt with the best reputations for energy and for consumer safety. The expansion of our terminal represents a long-term commitment to the community. And according to the third-party economic analysis, our project and a similar project at REG will create 280 full-time jobs, which pay an average of 84,000 per year. This project will create more than 870 jobs during the year-long construction process. Westway is committed to hiring locally and using locally sourced projects whenever possible. As a native, I know how eager folks are to get back to work. We receive calls frequently from people who want to work on our projects. We’re confident we will build this project in a way that will protect our neighbors and the environment we all value. Westway looks forward to working closely with Ecology and the City of Hoquiam to meet the high standard of the EIS, and build these projects with the highest commitment to safety. We look forward to getting to work so we can put people back to work, stimulating the economy and generating revenue for our local governments that provide valued services like education and public safety. Again, thank you very much.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Final Environmental Impact Statement has released

Ecology News: Environmental review completed for Grays Harbor crude oil project
JOINT NEWS RELEASE: City of Hoquiam, Washington Department of Ecology
Sept. 30, 2016

David Bennett, Ecology communications, 360-407-6239@ecysw
Brian Shay, City of Hoquiam, 360-581-3815

Environmental review completed for Grays Harbor crude oil project

HOQUIAM – The environmental review for the proposed Westway Terminal crude oil expansion project in Grays Harbor is complete. The review identifies impacts stemming from the project proposal, as well as possible mitigation measures.

The city of Hoquiam and Washington Department of Ecology are issuing the final report, officially referred to as the Environmental Impact Statement, after analyzing and responding to 100,000 comments received during public review of the draft version in 2015.

“We have been committed to a transparent, thorough and impartial process since our work on this proposal began,” says Paula Ehlers, section manager for Ecology. “The conclusions of the final study are similar to the draft, but include responses to all comments received, additional information in some sections, and new proposed mitigation.”

The study found that the proposed project would cause significant and unavoidable environmental impacts to health and safety if a crude oil spill, fire or explosion occurs. There are also impacts to tribal resources.

The report proposes 69 mitigation measures to offset or reduce environmental impacts from the project, including using newer rail cars, escort tugs in Grays Harbor, adding response equipment caches in key locations, and coordinating spill response training for local responders and tribes.

The study is not a permit – it is a comprehensive and factual data resource for those who will make decisions during the permitting process. Ten local and state permits, and 11 federal and state plan approvals will be required for the proposed project. The first permit to be considered will be Hoquiam’s shoreline substantial development permit.

Visit us on the web or social media.
Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Our Press Release
For Immediate Release
September 30, 2016


Diverse voices call on City of Hoquiam to deny permit for Westway proposal

Larry Thevik, 360-581-3910, Vice-President, Washington Dungeness Crab Fishermen’s Association
Arnie Martin, 360-580-1961, President, Grays Harbor Audubon
Rebecca Ponzio, 206-240-0493, Director, Stand Up to Oil Campaign
Mark Glyde, 206-227-4346, Resource Media and to contact Quinault Indian Nation

Hoquiam, WA – The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for Westway Terminal Company’s proposed crude-by-rail facility at the Port of Grays Harbor was released today amidst widespread opposition and calls for the City of Hoquiam to deny a permit. After a successful challenge to the original permit, this FEIS has gone through public review with overwhelming opposition. This is the final review stop before the City of Hoquiam can make a permit decision.

The Quinault Indian Nation, commercial fishing interests, local residents and conservation groups are still reviewing the FEIS and will be looking for it to more fully acknowledge the severity of the potential impacts that cannot be mitigated. The draft study underestimated impacts, which include increased risk of derailment, collision, fire and explosion from oil trains, oil spills from rail transport, storage and marine transport by barge and tanker in Grays Harbor, and impacts on tribal resources, including fisheries and fishing access.

“If the study provides a true account of risks to the safety, economy and way of life of tribal members and our Grays Harbor neighbors, the City of Hoquiam will have a clear and defensible choice to deny a permit.” said Fawn Sharp, President of the Quinault Indian Nation (QIN). “The city has a responsibility to keep our communities and shared waters safe and productive, not put them at risk from oil train derailments and oil spills.”

“Our members agree with the judgement of the Washington Attorney General who opposed a proposed oil terminal along the Columbia River after weighing the benefits against the risks of an oil spill. We believe the same is true in Grays Harbor,” said Larry Thevik, Vice-President of the WA Dungeness Crab Fishermen’s Association. “We all know these terminals carry grave risks. A better path than crude oil is to protect and build on our strengths like commercial and recreational fisheries, shellfish aquaculture and tourism.”

The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife stated “Grays Harbor is an area particularly sensitive to the adverse effects of oil spills.” Grays Harbor and surrounding waters support nearly 700 tribal and more than 3,000 non-tribal commercial fishing jobs. A recentstudy by the Greater Grays Harbor Chamber of Commerce found nearly 6,000 tourism-related jobs in the County.

“Clean beaches, birds and wildlife, scenic beauty and recreation opportunities are not only some of our most important economic assets, they also the reasons many of us choose to live, work and play in Grays Harbor County,” said Arnie Martin, President of Grays Harbor Audubon. “We know from experiences like the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico that one major oil spill is one too many.”

The Grays Harbor Wildlife Refuge is visited by hundreds of thousands of shorebirds annually. In 1989, the Nestucca barge holed off Grays Harbor spilling 231,000 gallons of marine bunker oil, killing or injuring an estimated 68,000 seabirds. The oil sheen was seen from Oregon to the Strait of Juan De Fuca.

The fiery oil train derailment in Mosier, Oregon was a dramatic demonstration of the far reaching dangers of crude-by-rail proposals in the Northwest. Oil trains bound for Grays Harbor would travel through communities along the rail line from Hoquiam to Chehalis and through Vancouver, the Columbia River Gorge and Spokane.

“These proposals a huge step backwards – they risk irrevocable harm to our communities and waterways and take us in the in the wrong direction for our climate,” said Rebecca Ponzio, director of the Stand Up To Oil campaign. “People across the Pacific Northwest have spoken: don’t sacrifice our health, livelihoods, and resources for the benefit of the oil industry.”

In a September 7  letter to the Washington Dept. of Ecology and City of Hoquiam leaders, the Quinault Indian Nation summarized the strong legal grounds the city has for denying a permit under the State Environmental Policy Act, Public Trust Doctrine that protects access and resource use of publicly owned navigable waters and tidelands, and the Quinault’s federally-reserved treaty fishing and gathering rights.

Washington State faces a proliferation of proposals for fossil fuel infrastructure—notably coal export and oil transport, as well as an expansion of oil by rail to existing refineries. If these proposals move forward, the region’s rail system face extreme strain and a significant increase in the amount of oil tanker traffic through Washington waters is expected.

While several projects have recently been defeated or withdrawn, significant proposals remain in play. In addition to the Longview and Grays Harbor proposals, Tesoro-Savage – the largest proposed oil by rail facility in North America – and one other terminal, NuStar, are proposed in Vancouver, WA.  There is also a proposal to increase the oil-by-rail capacity of the Shell Oil Refinery in Anacortes.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Shared Waters, Shared Values Photo Album

Several of our friends have set up Facebook Albums. These are open to view, even if you aren't signed up on FB.
Zoltan's album has the transcribed speeches

Here's the Album from Citizens for a Clean Harbor

Bev Basset finds a #GH Rocks! for Shared Waters.

Bob Ziegler sent in some of the photos- Thanks, Bob!

Randy Beerbower has some great shots from land.

Apryl Boling took many crowd shots.
John Duffy has posted a wonderful set of pictures over on Flickr
LEE CHOE EESE, President Fawn Sharp paddles the Quinault canoe.
Backbone Kayakivists along the banks of the Hoquiam River.

Alan Richrod's video is on FB. (Sorry, I couldn't get this to post)

Stand Up To Oil created this amazing video. 60 Must Watch Seconds!

I walked with the drummers for a bit. Turn it up while you watch!

The Daily World covered it in the next days paper
Protest Against Crude Oil on Grays Harbor draws hundreds.
Supporters from around the region showed up in full force to protest a proposal to ship crude oil through Grays Harbor and support the Quinault Indian Nation’s Shared Waters, Shared Values Rally in Hoquiam Friday afternoon.
Hundreds gathered at the 9th Street Dock to welcome the tribe’s flotilla of traditional canoes, kayaks and boats and to band together to protest the proposed expansion of fuel storage facilities at the Port of Grays Harbor.
“No crude oil” was the chant as they embarked on a four-block march to city hall to make their stand.
“We area at a critical place here in Grays Harbor, a decision is going to be made soon,” Fawn Sharp, president of the Quinault Nation said. “The future of the harbor is going to go in one direction or the other. We need to go in the direction of no crude oil in Grays Harbor … forever!”

Friday, June 24, 2016

FRA places blame while DNR urges rejection of Tesoro

Union Pacific crews work Sunday, June 5, 2016, to get oil out of rail cars after Friday's derailment near Mosier. (Carli Brosseau/staff)

Feds blame railroad for fiery oil train derailment in gorge

Advanced electronic brakes proposed by regulators could have made the derailment less severe, Federal Railroad Administrator Sarah Feinberg said. The brakes could have reduced the number of cars that went off the tracks and prevented the one that first burst into flames from being punctured, officials said.
"We're talking about upgrading a brake system that is from the Civil War era," Feinberg said. "It's not too much to ask these companies to improve their braking systems in the event of an accident so fewer cars are derailing."
"When they said those sheared lag bolts, that was the hint that said they really need to look in the direction of these other aspects," Ditmeyer told the AP. 
"These are heavy cars when they're fully loaded," and a treatment to reduce the volatility of the Bakken crude makes the oil heavier, he said.
The Oregon Department of Transportation last week asked federal rail authorities for a moratorium on oil trains in the Columbia River Gorge after also expressing concerns that the weight of the oil trains might be too much for the tracks.
The company defended its decision in a statement, reiterating the federal obligations it is under and highlighting the tiny fraction of its Oregon shipments — less than 1 percent — that come from oil trains.
In addition to state transportation officials, Multnomah County and several municipalities including Portland and Mosier have called on Congress and the White House for bans on oil being moved by rail, which is under the federal government's authority.
oil train.JPG
An oil train moves on the overpass next to a proposed waterfront redevelopment project in Vancouver, Washington. The Department of Natural Resources urged a state energy panel to advise against a proposed $210 million oil-by-rail terminal project, according to a brief filed ahead of hearings that begin Monday. The city of Vancouver also filed a brief stating its opposition to the project.. (Rob Davis/The Oregonian.OregonLive/2014) (Rob Davis/The Oregonian.OregonLive)
Washington agency wants Vancouver oil terminal plan shelved, citing fire risks
SEATTLE — A state agency in charge of protecting millions of acres of state land from wildfires is opposing a proposal to build an oil-by-rail terminal in Vancouver, citing risks of blazes from increased train traffic and other concerns.
The Department of Natural Resources urged a state energy panel to recommend that the $210 million project be rejected, according to a brief filed ahead of hearings that begin Monday.
The Department of Natural Resources said that based on the evidence, the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council cannot meet its obligations to assure the public that there are adequate safeguards and that the project will have minimal environmental impacts.
The council, which oversees the siting and permitting of large energy projects, will make a recommendation to Gov. Jay Inslee, who has the final say.
 Meanwhile, new Coal regulations are being drawn up. 

Rally Shows the Feds How Seattle Feels About Coal

Not too many coal supporters at this public hearing.
Activists, tribespeople, fishermen, politicians, and even a representative from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin turned up to take the stage at Westlake Park Tuesday morning — all to give the decades-long federal coal leasing program the middle finger, more or less.
“I come from upstream,” Bob LeResche, chairman of the Powder River Basin Resource Council, in Sheridan, Wyoming, told the eager crowd, “And I want to welcome you to our 40-year fight.”
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) currently leases 570 million acres of public land to coal companies — often atbargain basement prices — and the process for how that’s done hasn’t been touched for over 30 years. Many people, from scrappy environmental groups to the U.S. Department of the Interior, have long criticized the program as shortchanging the American public by vastly underestimating the market value of the coal. Now, that’s shifting: In January, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel launched a three-year process for revamping the system, starting with a moratorium on new coal leases until we get a new process figured out. Among her stipulations: Americans should get more bang for their buck on this, and so should the climate.
“We have an obligation to current and future generations to ensure the federal coal program delivers a fair return to American taxpayers,” she said in a January statement, “and takes into account its impacts on climate change.”
Perhaps, then, to throw a bone to the environmental movement (i.e. by making sure not every public hearing about the federal coal leasing program is held in coal country) the BLM held a six-hour-long public forum at the downtown Seattle Sheraton on Tuesday — one of just six hearings like it in the nation.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Fire Fighters send letter to Gov. Inslee

Affiliated withAFL-CIO
International  Association  of Fire Fighters

Washington State Labor Council
June 8, 2016

The Honorable Jay Inslee Washington  State Governor
P.O. Box 40002 Olympia, WA 98504

Dear Governor  Inslee:

Last Friday's oil train derailment and fire in Mosier, Oregon, is a stark reminder that first
responders, rail workers, communities, waterways and pristine lands remain in harm's way from
Bakken oil train traffic through  our  state.

The account given by firefighters of the Mosier response and by others who have responded to
similar incidents across North America make it clear these fires are exceedingly difficult to
extinguish, even under unusually ideal circumstances.  What happened  in Mosier could have just
as easily happened in a population  center like Spokane or Seattle, resulting in even greater 

You know our position on these matters. In June 2014, delegates at our statewide convention
called for an immediate halt to the movement of Bakken crude by rail until there has been a
determination that it is safe to transport. Clearly, given the Mosier incident, there has been no
such determination.

The upcoming summer fire season is shaping up to be another dry and dangerous one. Resources
will be stretched thin, and evidence keeps growing that there is no safe way to transport Bakken
crude. A derailment  and fire in dry wildfire  fuels with high winds could easily overwhelm 
available personnel and equipment in many parts of our state and grow into a conflagration of
immense proportions.

We urge you to make a request similar to Oregon Governor Brown's by asking the U.S.
Department of Transportation to use its authority to prohibit rail transport of Bakken crude
through our state until there has been a full investigation into the cause of the Mosier oil train

In additionplease consider the use of your executive authority to reject plans  for oil terminals   
now under review and ask your legal staff to investigate the proclamation of a state of emergency
under RCW 43
.06.220(l)(i), allowing you to prohibit the continued rail transportation of this
dangerous fuel.

We appreciate the efforts you have made to date on this subject and stand ready to meet with
you, as do other members of our Solidarity Roundtable on Oil, to work toward solutions to this
on-going  environmental  and community crisis.


Dennis  Lawson, President.
Washington  State Council of Fire Fighters

Dennis J. Lawson, President • Greg B. Markley, Secretary-Treasurer
1069 Adams Street Southeast, Olympia, WA 98501  1-800-572-5762  (360) 943-3030
Fax (360) 943-2333 
wscff@wscff.org  Website: www.wscff.org