Stop New Oil Shipments After Dangerous Derailment

Fire by Irina Pankratova

Target: Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington

Goal: Prevent increase in oil trains along the Columbia River Gorge.

In June of 2016, a Union Pacific oil train derailed along the Columbia River Gorge, starting a 10 to 15 acre fire and forcing the nearby town of Mosier, OR to evacuate. However, despite the risks posed to the environment and to local communities, the company Tesoro Savage has proposed a new plan to ship an additional 360,000 barrels of oil daily through the gorge to the Port of Vancouver. The plan needs permission from Washington Governor Jay Inslee to proceed. Insist the Governor put the needs of the community first and deny that permission.

Shipping oil along the gorge poses a serious hazard to the communities located there. The derailment near Mosier happened under a half a mile away from downtown. President of the Mosier City Council Emily Reed stated that while she was grateful the damage had been contained, “It so easily could have been so different. I could have been here talking as the mom who lost her 8-year old son.” Her son was evacuated from his school along with the other Mosier children. This is not the first time an incident like this has occurred. Over the past decade, 26 oil trains in the U.S and Canada have caught fire or derailed.

In addition to being a home for local communities, the Columbia River Gorge is also an important natural ecosystem. Thirteen stocks of salmon located in the gorge have become endangered along with green sturgeon, eulachon (smelt), and bull trout. Native American communities such as the Yakama Nation have fishing sites along the gorge and many people there rely on fishing to support themselves.

The environmental risks and the potential damages to towns along the gorge outweigh the economic benefits of increased oil production. Urge Governor Inslee to safeguard the Columbia River ecosystem and the communities that depend on it by halting Tesoro Savage’s proposal.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Inslee,

Tesoro Savage’s proposal to increase train shipments of crude oil along the Columbia River Gorge must not go forward. If this plan is enacted, it will add 360,000 barrels of crude oil a day to existing cargos. This would present an unacceptable risk to the environment and the surrounding communities. Protect these communities and the Columbia River ecosystem by withholding approval for the proposal.

Fires and derailments from oil trains already cause significant problems. Twenty six oil trains have either derailed or caught fire in the U.S and Canada in the last decade. In June 2016, a Union Pacific Oil train did both, forcing the evacuation of the nearby town of Mosier, OR.

The Columbia River Gorge is an important ecosystem that must not be contaminated by oil spills. It is home to 13 varieties of endangered salmon in addition to green sturgeon, eulachon (smelt), and bull trout. All of these species are in danger of extinction. Native American communities like the Yakama Nation use the river as a fishing site. If the fish were to vanish, so would that way of making a living.

The danger an oil spill poses to the environment and the people living in it offsets the economic benefit the shipments could bring. Reject the new oil shipments and preserve local communities.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Irina Pankratova

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One Comment

  1. Barbara Tomlinson says:

    LEAVE ALL FILTHY FOSSIL FUELS IN THE GROUND. FOREVER.
    To avert Climate CATASTROPHE due to Rapid Global Warming.
    Leave the OIL IN THE SOIL;
    Leave the COAL IN THE HOLE;
    Leave the TAR SANDS IN THE LAND.
    And NO FRACKING ANYWHERE, EVER!
    This must be Environmentalists’ MANTRA:
    LEAVE IT IN THE GROUND.

    STOP THE *SUICIDE ECONOMY*
    of GLOBAL CORPORATE CAPITALISM.
    It is going to KILL US ALL, if we don’t prevent it!

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