Free Public Education Forum

What: Risky Business: How oil transport threatens Washington’s health, economy, and waters
When: Tuesday, November 19, 2013. Program 6:30-8:30pm. Doors open at 6:00 pm, snacks
and beverages.
Where: Center for Urban Horticulture at University of Washington, 3501 NE 41st St., Seattle
RSVP here:


Partner organizations:  Washington Environmental Council, Forest Ethics, Friends of the Earth, FRIENDS of the San Juans, Citizens for a Healthy Bay, RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, and Puget Soundkeeper Alliance

Forum Agenda

  • Welcome – WEC
  • Moderator: Brett  VandenHeuvel, Columbia Riverkeeper (introduce the two large oil transport campaign goals )
  • Big Picture Overview:  Eric de Place , Sightline (tar sands, Bakken, rail, pipeline, vessels, maps, etc.)
  • Facility Siting in Washington:  Kristen Boyles, Earth Justice to be confirmed
  • Marine Issues in Washington:
    • Bruce Wishart, WEC (Gaps in Oil Spill Regulatory System)
    • Stephanie Buffum, FRIENDS of the San Juans (Aquatic and marine risks in north Sound)
  • Canadian / West Coast Developments:  Matt Krogh, Forest Ethics (What’s happening out of state and how we can work with Canadian, West Coast partners?)
  • Q&A : Brett VandenHeuvel moderating
  • Wrap Up with brief introduction of legislation, next steps and information how people can plug into hearings, etc:  WEC
  • Break out tables for engagement opportunities

Forum description:

The recent oil spill in North Dakota, the train derailment and explosions in Lac-Magantic, Quebec, the pipeline breach along the Kalamazoo River in 2010, and the grounding of the Exxon-Valdez tanker in 1989 are reminders that accidents happen and have devastating consequences. Especially, when it comes to transporting oil.

We are facing a growing risk as more oil is transported along the Columbia River, across the Puget Sound, and through the outer coast. The risks are wide ranging from oil spills along rails, marine, and pipeline routes to explosions to train traffic congestion to increased carbon emissions to degradation of habitat in the areas proposed for expansion.

Recent technology has allowed oil companies to extract oil from tar sands and shale deposits, opening up vast new reserves from tar sands oil in Canada and Bakken shale oil in the U.S. These products pose significant new risks to the health of Washington’s people, economy and the environment. Ten new proposals have emerged in just the last year to ship crude oil by train to Northwest refineries and port terminals.

If all of the oil by rail projects were built, they could move 800,000 barrels of oil per day — more than either of the pipelines planned in British Columbia. This total works out to roughly 120 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, more than the entire state’s greenhouse gas emissions from all sources.

Washington is ground zero when it comes to oil transport. The new facilities would result in more marine traffic and operations, significantly increasing the risk of an oil spill in Puget Sound, Columbia River and outer coast.  These developments will require us to reexamine our protections to ensure that our state is equipped with the right tools, resources and safeguards to reduce the risk of oil spills and to ensure that the right information on these proposals are understood by the public and decision makers.