Drawing on the one year anniversary of the Lac-Mégantic disaster, advocacy against oil trains has been in full effect this week. Fortunately, there are still many advocacy opportunities ahead that will allow our community to stand up against increased oil traffic to prevent tragedies like Lac-Mégantic from happening in Puget Sound. One is quickly approaching: a public hearing in Seattle on July 24. See below for more information.

On July 6, 2013, a 74-car freight train carrying highly explosive Bakken crude oil derailed in the town of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. The disastrous explosion that followed claimed 47 lives from the Lac-Mégantic community. Thousands gathered on Sunday in Lac-Mégantic to commemorate the one year anniversary of the tragedy. Over the past year, Lac-Mégantic has done its best to rebuild although signs of devastation are still apparent as the community and natural environment struggle to recover.

Despite this disaster and its ongoing effects, the number of oil trains traveling through the U.S. and Canada continues to increase. With this increase, we have seen more spills, derailments, and explosions than ever before.

Our own community in Puget Sound is not exempt from risk. About a dozen trains carrying the same type of highly volatile oil that caused the Lac-Mégantic explosion pass below downtown Seattle each week in underground tunnels as they make their way to refineries up north. Each passing train is a potential disaster that puts the lives of the thousands of people that live, work, and visit downtown in danger. BP wants this traffic to increase. If they get their way and the number of oil trains passing through Seattle does increase, the potential for disaster will only grow.

On July 24, you will have the opportunity to voice your concern over the danger of increased oil traffic by rail and sea in our communities.

The Army Corps of Engineers recently released a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a dock expansion at the BP oil terminal at Cherry Point. The draft Statement discusses the terminal’s capability to handle increased traffic but does not highlight the risks associated with this increase. Click here for more information on the EIS process.

A hearing will be held on July 24 in Seattle, where citizens are invited to share their comments with the Army Corps of Engineers on their draft Environmental Impact Statement. You are ALL encouraged to attend this hearing and provide comments about the risks associated with the increase in oil traffic in the Puget Sound that will occur if the terminal at BP Cherry Point expands their capacity.

The hearing will be preceded by an open house from 6 – 7 pm and a rally from 6:15 – 6:30 pm, where you can hear from dynamic speakers and make your presence known with colorful signs and props.

Please join us for this rally and hearing as we take this important to step to limit oil traffic by rail and sea in the Puget Sound.

See below for details.

Date: July 24, 2014

Location: Federal Center South Galaxy Room, 4735 East Marginal Way South, Seattle, Washington 98134

Time: 6 – 7 pm (Open House), 6:15 – 6:30 pm (Rally), 7 – 9 pm (Hearing)

Note: A valid government-issued photo identification (for example, a driver’s license) will be required for entrance to the building.