Recently in the Puget Sound area, there was talk about new oil trains that are planned to run through parts of Washington State. Concerned homeowners are worried about the effect the trains will have on their communities. Right now, protesters in Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia are delaying 11 miles of trains that could potentially clog the Pacific Northwest railway system every day.
Why Stop the Oil Trains?
Protesters are not only concerned about the eyesore and noise the trains would create. They’re also worried about potential spills and accidents the trains could cause. At full capacity, the trains would carry 785,000 barrels of oil every day. The trains would come from Alberta as well as North Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming.
Currently, there are 10 proposed or on-the-way oil-by-rail projects planned for Washington State. Residents of the Puget Sound area and other parts of Washington will have a chance to learn more about the projects this April. Since July of last year, there was a steady stream of derailments along the train lines, most of them outside of Washington. Some residents, however, are concerned these derailments will increase in Washington if the trains are allowed to run through the state.
Washington has always been concerned and involved with environmental and climate issues in the past. Some residents of Puget Sound feel the oil industry may cause harm to the environment. Spilled oil can damage the environment and kill animals. The pollution caused by trains may also cause issues.
Public speaking events are to be conducted across Washington with focus in cities where the oil-by-rail projects are planned. At these meetings, people can share their concerns if they would like their city councils to take a stand and support a statewide moratorium on oil-by-rail shipping. City councils in both Spokane and Bellingham have made such resolutions. Protesters who plan to attend the latest community meeting in Seattle hope Gov. Jay Inslee also approves a resolution to “freeze all pending oil-by-rail projects until environmental and safety concerns have been addressed,” as noted in the Bainbridge Review.
The Puget Sound and waterfront cities throughout Washington might band together to stop the trains from running. Right now, it’s unclear how long it will take for the safety and environmental concerns to be addressed and people are unsure what will happen once the issues are taken care of. Either the oil-by-rail projects will be completed or the citizens of Washington will veto the projects. If this happens, the oil industry will be forced to find other states to comply and other avenues to transport oil.