To: Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council

COMMENT PERIOD CLOSED: Oppose the largest crude oil-by-rail terminal ever proposed in North America

I am writing to oppose Tesoro-Savage's proposal to create the largest crude-oil-by-rail terminal in North America.

Tesoro-Savage's unprecedented and reckless proposal for an oil terminal in Vancouver, WA has broad opposition, with Columbia River Tribes, a local longshoremen's union, firefighters, business leaders, health professionals, climate activists, neighborhood associations, faith leaders, the City of Portland, the City of Vancouver itself, and a clear majority of local voters already speaking against it.

By itself, Tesoro-Savage's proposed facility would ship over 360,000 barrels of crude oil per day--almost half as much as the Keystone XL Pipeline.

This "pipeline on rails" would bring four or more mile-long trains carrying explosive crude oil across western states, through Spokane, along the Columbia River, and into Vancouver every day.

When these oil trains derail, they can spill, explode and ignite. We have already seen these devastating accidents across North America. When oil tankers crash and spill, fish and wildlife die, the harm lasts for decades, tribal economies and cultures suffer, and local river and fishing jobs are lost.

Here are just a few of the safety and public health risks discussed in the draft environmental impact statement that I want to note:

* Oil train accidents: The DEIS predicts derailment of a loaded oil train once every two years in Washington State. Each derailment could result in oil spills, fires, and explosions causing injury or death. There's been a string of oil train derailments, fires, and explosions across the U.S. and Canada in the last few years; these are risks I do not want any community to face.

* Oil spills in the Columbia River: The trains to feed this terminal would roll along the Columbia River, exposing it to the possibility of an oil spill that would harm the river and also sweep spilled crude oil into the Columbia River Estuary. The DEIS predicts that an oil tanker will crash, rupture, and spill crude oil into the Columbia River Estuary once every 20 years. The DEIS also predicts an oil spill of between 42,000 and 420,000 gallons every 34 years. The DEIS does not discuss the resources necessary to prevent and clean up an oil spill, instead simply calling for further study.

* Crude oil export: Tesoro-Savage gives lip service to energy independence, but the DEIS explains that the proposed facility could currently export dirty Canadian tar sands crude. With changes in U.S. law being pushed by oil companies, the Tesoro-Savage terminal might eventually export domestic crude as well.

* Rail delays and transportation problems: Tesoro's project would cause some rail segments to exceed capacity and--along with other oil-by-rail proposals--have "major cumulative impacts to transportation" in the Pacific Northwest. Tesoro's trains could increase vehicle delays up to 26 percent at 200 at-grade railroad crossings in Washington. Crossing delays could impact emergency response, and could particularly impact low-income communities and communities of color.

* Building a hazardous oil terminal in an earthquake/liquefaction area. An earthquake causing direct damage, liquefaction, or shoreline subsidence could cause an oil spill into the Columbia River; these well-known risks simply cannot be mitigated.

* Harm to endangered salmon: Oil tankers could destroy shallow water habitat in the Columbia River Estuary, resulting in harm to endangered salmon, steelhead, and eulachon. Many studies have shown that salmon and other fish are harmed by exposure to crude oil even in very small amounts. To protect a healthy Columbia River, we should deny the permits for these projects.

* Respecting tribal treaty rights and tribal culture. The Columbia River Tribes have lived in this area since time immemorial. These Tribes have treaties with the U.S. government to fish and gather in the Columbia River region. It is vital to respect and comply with tribal rights and respect tribal customs and cultures.

* Global warming: In order to have any chance to stave off global warming disaster, we must start weaning ourselves off of fossil fuels. Tesoro-Savage's project would generate at least the equivalent of roughly 54 million metric tons of CO2 per year--an amount of CO2 that is significant on a global scale.

I urge you to reject the Tesoso-Savage proposal; thank you for reading my comments.

Why is this important?

THE COMMENT PERIOD FOR THIS ACTION IS CLOSED However, you can still sign this petition to express your support for this issue.

It only took a few sentences on page 1,865 of the massive 2016 budget bill to repeal a decades-old ban on domestic crude oil export. This move will lead to more drilling, more climate-disrupting emissions, and more reckless transport of oil.

The oil industry has set its sights on the Pacific Northwest as a gateway for transporting more and more crude oil, and we’re fighting its plans on several fronts at once.

Tesoro-Savage’s unprecedented and reckless proposal for an oil terminal in Vancouver, WA has drawn broad opposition, with Columbia River Tribes, a local longshoremen’s union, firefighters, business leaders, health professionals, climate activists, neighborhood associations, faith leaders, the City of Portland, the City of Vancouver itself, and a clear majority of local voters already speaking against it.

By itself, Tesoro-Savage’s proposed facility would ship over 360,000 barrels of crude oil per day—almost half as much as the Keystone XL Pipeline.

This “pipeline on rails” would bring four or more mile-long trains carrying explosive crude oil across western states, through Spokane, along the Columbia River, and into Vancouver every day.

We must stop it.

When these oil trains derail, they can spill, explode and ignite. We’ve already seen these devastating accidents across North America. When oil tankers crash and spill, fish and wildlife die, the harm lasts for decades, tribal economies and cultures suffer, and local river and fishing jobs are lost. Let’s work together to make sure this doesn’t happen.

Washington’s Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council just released its draft environmental review. Comment now to make sure this project—the largest oil-by-rail terminal proposed in North America—is rejected.

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