June 05 2016
The recent oil train accident in Mosier, Oregon is a stark reminder of significant dangers of fossil fuel transport activities to our nation's watersheds and coastlines. On June 3, 2016, eleven cars from a 96-car Union Pacific train derailed in a National Scenic Area next to the iconic Columbia River. Several rail cars caught on fire and at least one released oil. Yet, the accident could easily have been much worse with irreversible impacts to ongoing salmon migration and a tourism and recreation economy that caters to millions of visitors each year.
This latest accident is a powerful illustration of why the Surfrider Foundation is working with numerous groups and citizens to stop a slate of new projects that would dramatically expand fossil fuel transport in the Pacific Northwest. These include the Vancouver Energy Project, proposed by the Tesoro and Savage Companies, that would transport 360,000 barrels of crude oil per day, making it the nation’s largest oil-by-rail terminal in the country. These also include three massive crude oil export terminals proposed within Gray's Harbor on the Washington Coast
The Columbia River Gorge and other Pacific Northwest waterways are outstanding public resources that provide enormous ecological, recreational, and socioeconomic values to communities and the region as a whole. Instead of developing new fossil fuel extraction and transportation projects, we should seek a comprehensive and environmentally sustainable energy plan that includes energy conservation.