Northwest emergency responders met in Portland Tuesday to discuss the increased potential for oil spills in the region.
Several oil-by-rail projects have been proposed in Washington state. The largest of those would be built at the Port of Vancouver if it is approved. Captain Sean MacKenzie is a deputy sector commander for the U.S. Coast Guard. He says those projects represent a significant increase in the amount of crude oil traveling by rail through the region.
MacKenzie: "That means there's physically more trains coming. There's physically more oil getting transferred to barges on the water and so the potential of a spill is greater when you have a larger volume coming in."
Tuesday's meeting included emergency responders from the Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency, Oregon, Washington and Idaho environmental agencies, railroads and oil companies. The agenda features an in-depth discussion of how to respond to an oil train derailment.
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