More than 400 concerned Washington residents gathered for the official DEIS public hearing for two of the proposed crude oil by rail terminals in Grays Harbor, Washington. Of the over 150 people who spoke, 153 voiced opposition, while only 3 spoke in favor.
"In Grays Harbor, one major oil spill would devastate our estuary and the whole economy dependent on it," Larry Thevik, Vice President of the Washington Dungeness Crab Association. "The risk is just too great."
Tribal leaders, elected officials, business owners, faith leaders, and community members all spoke out in opposition to the proposals during the hearings and at the rally, focusing their concerns in particular on the risks from oil trains and spills from oil tankers.
"The risks these proposals pose to our health cannot be mitigated," Dr. Brenda Grant, a local family physician. "The impacts of an oil spill or train explosion would be devastating and it's not a small risk - it's a certainty."
The Aberdeen hearing was the second in a series of two hearings (the first was in Elma on October 1st) on the draft Environmental Impact Statement for two of the three proposed crude oil by rail terminals in Grays Harbor by the Westway and Imperium companies. The Department of Ecology and City of Hoquiam will be using the public comments received over these two hearings and through the end of the comment period on October 29th to finalize their evaluation of the proposals and inform the final permit decisions on the terminals.
Currently, Washington state is facing a proliferation of proposals for coal and oil terminals, as well as an expansion of oil by rail to existing refineries. If these proposals move forward, we would see extreme strain on our rail systems and a significant increase in the amount of oil tanker traffic through Washington waters. There are currently five proposals for oil terminals in Washington, as well as a proposal by Shell Refinery in Anacortes to expand their operation to increase their oil by rail capacity, and one in Longview.
STAND UP TO OIL is a growing coalition of groups opposed to new oil terminals and an increase in oil transport through the Northwest, while working to improve safety measures for oil currently traveling through the region. Learn more at Standuptooil.org.