Shell Oil has been making waves in the Pacific Northwest [of the United States] lately with expanded oil drilling, hauling and refining plans. Earlier this year, dozens of activists made international news when they were arrested for blocking a Shell oil rig from leaving the Port of Seattle for the Chukchi Sea off the coast of Alaska.
So last month`s announcement by Shell to abandon plans to drill in the Arctic was celebrated far and wide as a victory for those who worry about oil spills in the pristine Chukchi Sea, but also for all of us who worry for the planet because of the unfettered burning of fossil fuels.
Now Pacific Northwest environmental groups are focused on Shell`s plans to expand supplies for a refinery in Anacortes, Wash., which would generate about six Bakken crude-bearing trains per week through North Idaho.
We are part of a coalition—Stand Up to Oil—that is demanding that this proposal receive full scrutiny, along with several others that could clog our rail lines with crude oil trains in the future.
The Shell proposal is still in the scoping phase of the permitting process, and we can now weigh in on what issues the State of Washington should examine as they review this proposal. Comments are due on Nov 5.
This is one of several proposals to either build or expand terminals in the Pacific Northwest that would receive highly volatile Bakken crude oil from North Dakota. Every one of these trains passes through North Idaho, bringing the risk of oil spills, explosive derailments and the more mundane—but equally serious—issue of traffic delays.
Fortunately, our local emergency response officials are taking the risks seriously and recently practiced how to respond to an oil spill in Lake Pend Oreille. That`s great, but it won`t prevent a spill in the first place.
Stay tuned to opportunities to speak out on the Shell proposal and others. Our Take Action page on coal and oil transport will list the latest opportunities to comment on emerging proposals to haul more oil and coal through North Idaho.
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Photos: Opponents of Royal Dutch Shell`s plans to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean swarm the drilling rig with their army of kayaks. Source: NYT.