oil transport

A new proposed ballot initiative in Spokane, Washington, could prohibit coal and oil companies from transporting their products through the city by rail. It comes after the city council rolled back a similar effort last month.

This time around, the proposal targets the owners of the rail cars and not the railroad companies tasked with transporting them.

Associated Press / AP Images

Transporting crude oil is controversial. The Northwest has seen a number of efforts to put a halt on oil trains carrying Bakken crude from the heartland to the coast.

Two weeks ago, the Spokane City Council approved a ballot measure that garnered national attention. It would impose a fine on every rail car that transports coal or oil through the heart of the city.  Monday the council could consider its withdrawal.

Ted S. Warren

Washington’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Friday he’s opposed to a proposal for the nation’s largest oil-by-rail terminal in Vancouver. He’s the highest ranking state official to come out against the project.

In a statement, Ferguson says protecting the environment and public safety are his top priorities. He says the potential benefits of the oil terminal in southwest Washington outweigh the risks and costs of a spill.

The Vancouver Energy Project is currently in a trial-like phase of the permitting process before Washington’s energy council.

Sam Beebe / Flickr

Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkely are asking federal railroad officials to use their authority and place a moratorium on crude oil moving through the Columbia River Gorge. The railroad involved with this month’s oil train derailment has said those trains will resume this week.

21 Arrested In Vancouver Oil Train Protest

Jun 20, 2016
Coast Guard PFC Levi Read / Wikimedia Commons

Police arrested 19 people who refused to leave the BNSF railroad tracks in Vancouver on Saturday. They were protesting oil train service in the Northwest after a train carrying Bakken crude oil derailed in the Columbia River Gorge derailed two weeks ago.

Emily Schwing / Northwest News Network

Residents of Mosier, Oregon were told Sunday night they can return to their homes.

An oil train that derailed and caught fire forced more than 100 to evacuate last week. Just over 400 people live in the sleepy town surrounded by cherry orchards and basalt cliffs.

Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio

The Washington department of Ecology has completed a draft report to the legislature outlining safety recommendations to deal with increased oil train traffic in the state.

The Ecology department worked with the Utilities and Transportation Commission and the state’s Emergency Management Division to prepare the draft report on improving public safety. Lisa Copeland is a spokeswoman for Ecology.

Raymond D. Woods Jr. / Flickr

BNSF Railway said it will comply with a Saturday federal deadline to provide states with information about the frequency and routes of oil trains from North Dakota and Montana.

The railroad made that announcement Friday even though Washington, Oregon and Idaho have balked at signing confidentiality agreements about the crude oil shipments.

Central Oregon Grapples With Rising Oil Train Safety Risks

May 20, 2014
Friends of the Gorge

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden will meet with emergency officials in Central Oregon this week to talk about oil train safety. For EarthFix, Cassandra Profita reports.

Environmental regulators in Washington state are expecting a lively crowd Thursday in the coastal city of Hoquiam. The public gets a chance there to weigh in about increased crude oil train traffic.

More oil is moving through Washington state from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota. That has many concerned about oil train safety. The oil has proven extremely flammable, causing several explosions in North America.

State legislators on both sides of the aisle introduced bills to address the concerns.

But the session ended last week without a compromise.

The U.S. Department of Transportation issued an emergency order Tuesday requiring crude oil from North Dakota and Montana to be tested before being transported by railroads.

Powerful members of the Washington state Senate are on board with a plan to tax crude oil shipped into the state by rail.

Tesoro To Upgrade To Safer Oil Tankers

Feb 10, 2014

The industry is responding after several derailments, fires and explosions involving trains hauling shipments of crude oil throughout North America. New plans are being announced to make tanker train cars safer.

In Olympia, state lawmakers are going down divergent tracks in how to respond to the rapid increase of crude oil trains crossing the region.

Lawmakers in Olympia Wednesday held a hearing on a new bill concerning oil transport. More oil is moving into terminals and refineries in the state from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota. That has politicians calling for oil companies to be more transparent.

Oil train safety tops the list of priorities for environmental groups. The groups outlined their goals Wednesday for Washington’s new legislative session.

The biggest railroad in the Northwest forcefully defended the safety of oil trains Wednesday.

A fuel terminal developer has unexpectedly scrapped a project at the Port of Tacoma that was intended to receive crude oil by rail.

Port of Vancouver Approves Biggest Oil-Train Project In NW

Jul 23, 2013
Port of Vancouver USA

The Port of Vancouver Commission voted unanimously to approve a lease for a controversial oil terminal. Two companies have proposed building a terminal at the port that could one day move up to 380,000 barrels of crude oil a day from trains to ships on the Columbia River.

Transportation Safety Board of Canada

A train loaded with oil exploded in Eastern Canada over the weekend. There are 13 confirmed deaths and dozens more missing. The train was carrying oil from the massive Bakken Oil Fields of North Dakota.

Port of Vancouver USA

Oil refiner Tesoro and a terminal operating company named Savage detailed plans Thursday for the biggest crude oil shipping terminal to be proposed in the Northwest. It would be located on the Columbia River at the Port of Vancouver, Wash.

Oil Trains On The Rise In The Northwest

Dec 5, 2012
Photo Credit: Carl Chapman/Wikimedia Commons

Regulators in the region are weighing the potential impacts of trains full of coal moving along the Columbia River and the shores of Puget Sound. Meanwhile, trains full of Oil are quietly on the rise.