6/13 Events in Salem & The Dalles



Port Westward Threatened by Global Partners; Union Pacific Tries to Expand Railroad One Year After Mosier Oil Train Disaster

June 9, 2017 (Salem, OR and The Dalles, OR)–
On June 13, 2017,  public commissions will consider two oil-by-rail expansion proposals, one in Port Westward, Portland, and the other along the Columbia River Gorge. Both would result in more oil trains in Oregon and Washington. 

“Railroads and oil companies continue pressure to increase dangerous oil train traffic and terminals through our communities and along special places like the Columbia River, said Rebecca Ponzio, Director of the Stand Up to Oil coalition. “We call on the Oregon PUC and the Columbia River Gorge Commission to protect our communities and say no to these projects.”

First, in Salem, Oregon’s Public Utility Commission will meet to discuss a plan to sell old oil storage tanks and other equipment at Port Westward to Global Partners—an oil company with a history of environmental violations. In 2012, the company began operating as an oil-by-rail terminal under an existing approval for an ethanol refinery.1 By 2013, the company had violated their permit, public trust, and safety by illegally shipping six times more crude oil than allowed. In 2015, Global stoped handling oil due to the lower-than-expected price of crude oil and started operating an ethanol-by-rail terminal.2  

Second, in The Dalles, the Columbia River Gorge Commission will hold a hearing and reach a decision on Union Pacific’s appeal of the denial of their rail expansion project planned in Mosier, Oregon. The five-mile rail expansion would have allowed for doubling rail traffic, including oil trains, and harmed tribal treaty rights, wetlands and recreation. The project was denied by the Wasco County Board of Commissioners, but the railroad continues to fight this decision. Tribes and conservation groups oppose Union Pacific’s rail expansion and will argue against their appeal.

What’s Next for Oil-by-Rail in the Pacific NW? 
In the coming months, Washington’s Energy Facility Siting Evaluation Council (EFSEC) will make a recommendation on the Tesoro Savage proposal in Vancouver, Washington. Ultimately, Washington Governor Inslee will make the final decision about whether to deny the terminal which would be the largest oil train terminal in North America. The project would bring up to five loaded oil trains each day through the Columbia River Gorge carrying the same volatile Bakken crude oil that burned during the Mosier derailment in June 2016.

Hearing details:

STAND UP TO OIL is a growing coalition of groups opposed to new oil terminals and an increase in oil transport through the Northwest. Learn more at Standuptooil.org.

Comments Off

Categories: Blog, Top Stories

Comments are closed.