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Washington Chapters

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June 3, 2016

Oil Terminal Proposals & Strengthening the Thin Green Line

I was just about to sit down to write a post with updates on a couple of our campaigns to stop massive oil terminal development within SW Washington, when a friend sent me a note with breaking news of a crude oil train derailment and fire that just happened within the Columbia River Gorge…

Breaking news about the Columbia Gorge derailment & fire here

How many of these derailments, fires, and spills do we have to let happen in our communities and watersheds before we realize that this is a really bad idea on so many levels? The Washington Chapters of Surfrider Foundation are united in solidarity with our Oregon Chapters, and other coalition partners in the Stand Up to Oil Campaign to reject these unenlightened proposals for oil terminal development in Vancouver and Grays Harbor.

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Vancouver Tesoro Savage Update– Following a record breaking volume of 285,000 public comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the development of the largest proposed oil terminal development in North America, concerned citizens and aquatic recreational enthusiasts await next steps in the decision making process by the Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) and then Governor Jay Inslee. Just last week, the Washington Attorney Generals Office released a report stating that “an oil tanker grounding on the Columbia River could cost more than $170 million dollars in damages. Estimates show the oil tanker could spill 8 million gallons of Bakken crude oil.” The report also stated “the worst place for a train derailment would be above Bonneville Dam. That’s because the turbines would mix the crude oil into the river water killing more fish and wildlife.” This is exactly where today’s spill occurred…we can only hope and pray that the spilled oil doesn’t make it into the river. Stay tuned for more updates on this breaking situation and ways to get involved in the coming months. While the report provides crucial cautionary information that should give us all pause about the costs for a spill cleanup and impacts to fisheries, it’s important to note that the study doesn’t address impacts to non-consumptive recreational uses on the river such as windsurfing, kiteboarding, and kayaking nor does it address spill impacts to the coasts of Oregon and Washington and the associated recreational uses that occur there. Download the Executive Summary of the AG’s report: Washington Attorney General’s Office Columbia River Oil Spill Report

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Grays Harbor Westway Update– Our friends at the Sightline Institute recently released a detailed report about the company proposing to build a massive oil terminal within Grays Harbor, the coastal recreational hotspot along the Washington coast with over 30% of it’s economy based around a healthy marine ecosystem. This little-known company called Westway has big aspirations in the Pacific Northwest. If the firm gets its way, it will build and operate an oil terminal on the shores of Grays Harbor, Washington, that will bring in large quantities of crude oil by rail, store it in tanks on the shoreline, and ship it out of the bay in tanker vessels. Although Westway’s proposal has generated enormous controversy in the region, the company’s track record and financial underpinnings have gone largely unstudied. Read the full report.

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