Editor’s note: This article is cross-posted with permission from Oil Check Northwest.

Across the Pacific Northwest, residents are talking about the growing risks from oil train traffic in their communities. The numerous derailments and fiery disasters since oil-by-rail became the go-to form of transportation for Bakken shale oil has many speaking out about concerns for public safety and health.

There are new projects currently seeking permits in Vancouver, Grays Harbor, and Longview, Washington; refineries increasing capacity in Anacortes, Washington; and a facility already in operation in Port Westward, Oregon. The trains run the length of Washington State, cutting across the Columbia River and through some of the region’s largest population centers.

This regional conversation came to a head last week with the first public hearings for the proposed Tesoro Savage oil-by-rail facility. With capacity to bring in 360,000 barrels per day, it would be the largest facility in North America. Between two hearings in Vancouver and Spokane, nearly 2,000 people showed up, the overwhelming majority in opposition. What’s more, over 275,000 people sent in public comments on the project, believed to be a record for Washington State.

Final delivery of public comment comes on the heels of Multnomah County formally opposing oil trains and officials with the Washington State Attorney’s office expressing deep concerns that the initial environmental impact statement downplayed risks to public safety and health.

With this swirl of public statements and voices of concern on oil trains, it can be difficult to get perspective on who has said what and what their statements mean. To that end we’ve created a map organizing all the formal statements against oil trains and highlighting who has spoken up and how strong their opposition was.

More on how Northwest communities are stopping coal and oil in their tracks.

  • We’ve broken them up into four categories (increasing from light to dark coloring):

    • determination of safety/careful analysis (lightest blue)
    • expression of concern or reconsideration
    • formal written opposition
    • request for moratorium or to decline permit (darkest blue)

    There are a total of 3 counties, 11 major organizations, 29 cities, and the Quinault Nation that have officially voiced concern or outright opposition to oil trains in their communities. With groups ranging from the Washington State Council of Firefighters to the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, and cities stretching from Spokane and Aberdeen to Bellingham and Hood River (basically anywhere the trains would run), it’s clear how diverse and widespread public opposition is in both Oregon and Washington.

    You can check out the full interactive and updated map here, as well as in table format below. As new cities and groups consider the risks, we will continue to add to that live map. You may also view the groups opposed in the table below.

    Nick Abraham is the editor of Oil Check Northwest, a watchdog group focused on oil and coal’s influence in the region. He can be reached at [email protected] and at @oilchecknw.

     

    City, County, Nation, or Organization

    State

    Position

    Statement

    Aberdeen WA formal written opposition to oil trains Link
    Anacortes WA determination of safety/careful analysis Link
    Auburn WA determination of safety/careful analysis Link
    Bainbridge Island WA request for moratorium or to decline permit Link
    Bellingham WA determination of safety/careful analysis Link
    Bingen WA expression of concern or reconsideration Link
    Camas WA expression of concern or reconsideration Link
    Chehalis WA determination of safety/careful analysis Link
    Clark County Democratic Central Committee WA formal written opposition to oil trains Link
    Columbia River Gorge Commission WA request for moratorium or to decline permit Link
    Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission OR formal written opposition to oil trains Link
    Edmonds WA request for moratorium or to decline permit Link
    Elma WA expression of concern or reconsideration Link
    Grays Harbor County Democrats WA formal written opposition to oil trains Link
    Hood River OR determination of safety/careful analysis Link
    Hoquiam WA formal written opposition to oil trains Link
    ILWU Local 4 WA formal written opposition to oil trains Link
    Kent WA determination of safety/careful analysis Link
    King County WA expression of concern or reconsideration Link
    Montesano WA expression of concern or reconsideration Link
    Mosier OR determination of safety/careful analysis Link
    Mount Vernon WA determination of safety/careful analysis Link
    Mukilteo WA determination of safety/careful analysis Link
    Multnomah OR formal written opposition to oil trains Link
    Ocean Shores WA formal written opposition to oil trains Link
    Olympia WA request for moratorium or to decline permit Link
    Port of Olympia WA expression of concern or reconsideration Link
    Portland OR formal written opposition to oil trains Link
    Quinault WA formal written opposition to oil trains Link
    Rainier OR expression of concern or reconsideration Link
    Scappoose OR determination of safety/careful analysis Link
    Seattle WA request for moratorium or to decline permit Link
    Skamania County Fire District 4 WA request for moratorium or to decline permit Link
    Spokane WA determination of safety/careful analysis Link
    Stevenson WA formal written opposition to oil trains Link
    The Columbia Waterfront LLC WA formal written opposition to oil trains Link
    The Dalles OR determination of safety/careful analysis Link
    The Washington State Council of Firefighters WA expression of concern or reconsideration Link
    The Washougal School District WA request for moratorium or to decline permit Link
    Vancouver WA request for moratorium or to decline permit Link
    Vancouver 101 Business Against Oil WA formal written opposition to oil trains Link
    Washougal WA expression of concern or reconsideration Link
    Westport WA formal written opposition to oil trains Link
    Whatcom County WA determination of safety/careful analysis Link

    Up next: oil trains in the Northwest, explained.