Testimony on 1449: Oil Transportation Safety

William McPherson, President UU Voices for Justice, Washington State

Thank you for the opportunity to address the Update From the Department of Ecology on the Implementation of House Bill 1449 (2015).

The Department of Ecology, along with other state agencies*, must review the environmental impact of oil trains. DEIS’s for Vancouver, Grays Harbor and Anacortes terminals tend to ignore the moral issue of how we contribute to climate change by restricting the reviews of permits to emissions in Washington state, for example, from diesel emissions of locomotives. This shortchanges our contributions by 136 million tons, more than twice our current emissions.

According to Sightline Institute, Oil train facilities in the Northwest could facilitate shipment as much as 382,000 barrels per day of new tar sands production that would otherwise not be extracted. The resulting greenhouse gas pollution could be as much as 106 million metric tons per year of carbon dioxide.

Northwest oil train terminals could also lead to as much as 114,000 barrels per day of Bakken crude beyond what would be produced without the terminals. The resulting greenhouse gas pollution from this extra production could be as much as 30 million tons per year of carbon dioxide.

Do we have no moral responsibility for these emissions? Just because we do not burn the petroleum in Washington, we think we can escape this responsibility. But we contribute because we do provide facilities which otherwise could not be used to transport the oil.

* EFSEC is a council comprising the directors of five state agencies

(or their designees) and a chair appointed by the governor. The state agencies with designees on EFSEC are:

• Department of Commerce

• Department of Ecology

• Department of Fish and Wildlife

• Department of Natural Resources

• Utilities and Transportation Commission

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Unitarian Universalist Voices for Justice - Washington
We empower Unitarian Universalists to give voice to our values in the political arena.