Oil train hearing workshop scheduled Wednesday at library

Friends of the Columbia Gorge and Columbia Riverkeeper will be holding a workshop on how to prepare and give testimony at the upcoming oil train hearings. The workshop will take place Dec. 9 from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Hood River Library meeting room downstairs.

On Nov. 24, Washington State regulators released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement with a 60-day comment period on the proposed Vancouver Energy Project by Tesoro - Savage Companies. This would be the biggest oil-by-rail terminal in North America and result in at least four more oil trains transiting the Gorge daily for years. On Jan. 5 and 12, there will be massive public hearings in Ridgefield, near Vancouver, according to Peter Cornelison of Friends of the Columbia River Gorge. (The print issue states a single hearing date, which is an error)

“At 360,000 barrels per day, Tesoro-Savage’s Vancouver project would ship almost half as much crude oil as the entire Keystone XL Pipeline,” Cornelison said. “This ‘pipeline on rails’ would bring four mile-long trains carrying explosive crude oil through the Columbia River Gorge and Vancouver every day.

“When oil trains derail they often spill, explode, and burn. We have already seen several catastrophic accidents across North America in the past 2.5 years. Let’s work together to stop that from happening here,” Cornelison said.

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wultenviron 2 years, 10 months ago

For the second day in a row (Nov., 8 2015) a train derailed in Wisconsin - a CP freight train, near Watertown. No fewer than ten cars overturned, some were leaking. About 1000 gallons of crude spilled but was quickly contained. The day before near the Mississippi River town of Alma, 32 cars of a BNSF train upset, releasing 20,000 gallons of ethanol. One of the cars spewed an unidentified liquid. 150 people in a half-mile radius were evacuated. Within four days, 400 feet away, another train derailed. Concerned Milwaukee residents asked Sen. Tammy Baldwin to look into a 100 year old railway bridge. At her behest, the FRA inspected the bridge and said all was well. Yet, within days, the railroad repaired the bridge - the power of public scrutiny. It would be very interesting if we could be told the reason a train derailed. Going too fast? Too long ? Too heavy? Operator fatigue? Poor maintenance? Answers would reveal the far from best practices used by a profit hungry rail industry. How likely is it that an oil train derails? Once every two years if you run four 100 car trains per day. In February 2015 , 27 cars of a 107 car CSX train derailed near Mt. Carbon, W.Va, forcing some people out of their homes as several cars exploded. The railroad had ignored two warnings by a contractor of a flaw in the rail. The railroad has paid a fine levied by the Federal Railroad Administration and faces a lawsuit by local residents. If you see a picture of firefighters standing by with water hoses as an oil train car burns, you are seeing propaganda. The only thing to do, in real life, is to let it burn itself out and concentrate on evacuating nearby residents. A Canadian Pacific train derailed near Banff, Alberta in December 2014. Nearly a year later we learn that despite regular inspections, an undetected loose joint in a wheel block assembly led to the derailment. Are the inspections frequent enough? No comment from CP or the TSP. When states have passed laws to force more attention to rail safety, railroads have sued, citing federal laws as the only valid check on their behavior. Well, let's take them up on that. With crude oil transportation surging from 9,500 cars in '08 to 493,000 cars in '14, it only makes good sense to insist that the Federal Railroad Administration, whose first duty is to protect citizens, not shareholders, enforce railroad health and safety regulations. Please sign the petition at http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/enfo...">http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/enfo...


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