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Oil tanks for storage and shipment are part of the rapidly expanding crude oil by rail network in the NW. While Washington’s State Marine and Rail Oil Transport Study, Department of Ecology (DOE) and the public have been giving a great deal of attention to the expansion of and risks from oil by rail, almost no attention has been given to the proposed storage tanks at the loading/export ports (Vancouver and Hoquiam). The October 1, 2014, preliminary findings from the above-mentioned DOE study, established by Governor Inslee, do not address the issue of oil storage tanks and their presence in communities.
The transport of crude by rail through communities and near waterways poses significant risks to the public. These concerns have been raised in many forums. We describe a new and critical concern: proposed crude oil tank farms that by design would be sited within the population centers of Hoquiam/Aberdeen, Vancouver and Anacortes, creating permanent, indeterminate risk from combustion and fires. There is also the risk of spillage, accident and fire with any train-to-tank transfer, which could occur at any of the three locations within the city.
Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility opposes the siting of crude oil tanks and terminals within population centers. Further, we call upon the Washington Department of Ecology and Governor Inslee to deny permits for the proposed terminals on the basis of serious, credible threats to the health and safety of residents of Washington communities.
We also call upon the WA Department of Health to study the potential health and safety issues related to crude oil storage within and shipment from communities. This seems especially important since local health departments have generally not filled this role to date.
Learn more about this critically important issue by reviewing our Policy Position Opposing the Siting of Crude Oil Terminals within Population Centers, adopted by the WPSR Board of Directors in October 2014.
Proposals for three oil terminals in Grays Harbor would facilitate the handling and storage of over 100 million gallons of crude oil. WPSR reviewed draft environmental impact statements for two of the projects. We detailed the major health and safety risks of these projects in the following fact sheet.
The proposed largest crude oil handling facility in the country could receive 360,000 barrels (over 15 million gallons) of crude oil daily.
WPSR and Oregon PSR reviewed the draft environmental impact statement for this project. We detailed the major health and safety risks of these projects in this fact sheet.
A group of nursing students in WA assessed the potential health, environmental and economic impacts of this project. View their comprehensive analysis here.