Oil Transport & Storage Position Statement from Concerned Washington & Oregon Health Care Professionals
Energy companies have proposed increases in oil-by-rail transport and storage in the states of Washington and Oregon with subsequent ocean shipments from Pacific Northwest ports. If current proposals are allowed to proceed, the volume of oil-by-rail coming into Washington would increase from the current 19 trains per week to as many as 137 trains per week, each about 1.5 miles long and carrying approximately 2.9 million gallons of volatile crude to be stored, in some cases refined, and then exported. Several trains are also proposed to carry Bakken oil through Oregon to California and by barge from Oregon ports on the Columbia River to Washington and California refineries via the Pacific Ocean.
The known risks associated with oil-by-rail transport, oil tank storage, and oil export by vessel pose an unacceptable threat to human health and safety. As concerned Washington and Oregon health care professionals, we are deeply troubled by the public health and safety impacts of these proposals.
A thorough review of data published in peer-reviewed medical journals and other reliable sources is summarized below. Our full position statement paper with detailed summaries of major risks and research may be viewed here:
Major health risks of the proposed oil-by-rail transport, storage, and vessel export in Washington and Oregon include:
1) Delay of emergency vehicles (Appendices A & B)
2) Oil rail car fires, spills, explosions and derailments (Appendix A)
3) Adverse health impacts of train noise (Appendix A)
4) Oil storage tank spills, fires and explosions (See Appendix B)
5) Oil spills during loading and vessel transport (Appendix C, Appendix D)
6) Increased air pollution, including diesel particulate matter (Appendix A)
7) Increased water pollution (Appendix E)
8) Contributions to climate change-induced injury and disease (Appendix F)
As Washington and Oregon health care professionals, we oppose the transport by rail and the storage and shipment of crude oil within our states on the basis of very serious, credible threats to the health of our residents. Further, we call upon the Governors of Washington and Oregon, as well as agencies in both states, to deny permits that facilitate the transport, storage and handling of crude oil by rail and/or barge.
By signing and agreeing to this position statement, your name and credentials will be added to our public document. We will not for any reason publish or share your personal contact or employer information.
* Statement prepared by Washington & Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, released January 2015.
Washington and Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility
/ 206.547.2630 /
/ 503.274.2720 /
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