Crude oil shipments poised to take over Northwest railways

Oil companies want to ship massive quantities of crude oil to Oregon and Washington ports and refineries. Read Sightline Institute’s The Northwest’s Pipeline on Rails for a comprehensive, region-wide review of all the oil-by-rail projects planned or currently operating in the Northwest.

oil train video screen shot-annie2Act Now!

Watch our short video that puts the Northwest’s oil-by-rail issue in the national spotlight. And, please sign our petition today asking Oregon’s and Washington’s Governors to do their part in protecting our communities by opposing proposed oil-by-rail projects.

Huffington Post features our video 


Watch a September 5, 2013 investigative report from NBC News on how unsafe the crude oil trains are that roll through our communities everyday: Danger on the tracks: Unsafe rail cars carry oil through US towns


Photo by Paul K Anderson

Photo by Paul K Anderson


Of the Northwest’s proposed oil-by-rail projects, the largest is at the Port of Vancouver. In summer 2013, the Port approved a lease agreement with Tesoro Savage to ship up to a staggering 360,000 barrels of crude oil each day along the Columbia River. The proposed oil terminal would require at least four, mile-and-a-half long unit trains per day. For communities along the Columbia and rail line, the consequences of a project of this magnitude are staggering.

Tesoro Savage now must get approval from Governor Inslee because the quantity of oil proposed is so large. The Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) will make a recommendation to the Governor on the unprecedented project and, then, the Governor will make the final decision to deny or approve the terminal. Hundreds rally and attend October 29th hearing to ask EFSEC and Governor Inslee to reject the massive oil terminal proposed at Port of Vancouver

Learn more: 

  • Riverkeeper’s fact sheet on the Tesoro Savage Project
  • Riverkeeper’s overview of the EFSEC process
  • Riverkeeper and partners challenge Port’s closed-door decision on oil lease
  • Riverkeeper and allies EFSEC scoping comments.  Thanks to the excellent legal team at Earthjustice for their work on this.  



With little public involvement, a company called Global Partners has now started exporting oil from Port Westward near Clatskanie, Oregon. Oil trains from the Bakken formation, in North Dakota, travel through the Columbia River Gorge, Portland, and St. Helens among many other cities on the way to the export terminal. Now, Global Partners seeks a permit to rebuild a large dock to export more oil.

See letters submitted by Riverkeeper regarding proposed rezone:


Get Involved

Contact Dan Serres, Riverkeeper’s Conservation Director, at dan@columbiariverkeeper.org with any questions or comments related to any of Northwest oil-by-rail proposals OR if you’d like to get involved.