The biggest railroad in the Northwest forcefully defended the safety of oil trains Wednesday.
It happened at a meeting in Seattle of environmental regulators from the West Coast. The context is the rapid rise in crude oil trains coming to the Northwest from North Dakota and this summer's deadly explosion in Quebec.
Burlington Northern Santa Fe hazmat expert Patrick Brady calls that train accident "an anomaly."
A coalition of tribal leaders and politicians gathered in Seattle Monday to announce the formation of a new group that opposes coal exports in the Northwest.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and State Representative Reuven Carlyle were among a group of Washington politicians and tribal leaders who announced the creation of the Leadership Alliance Against Coal. The group says it will work to “raise awareness about the damaging economic, cultural and health impacts of coal trains and coal exports”.
For the last year EarthFix has been looking at the issue of coal being exported through the Northwest.
There are five proposed coal export terminals under consideration in Washington and Oregon. They would be built to transfer coal off of trains from Wyoming and Montana mines and on to ships bound for Asia.
Some coal dust will escape along the journey from the mines to the terminals.
The Black Thunder mine located near Gillette, Wyoming is one of the largest open pit mines in the world.
More than 2,000 people showed up Thursday to tell regulators what they think should be considered in the environmental review of a proposed coal export terminal near Bellingham, Wash. If built, it could be the largest such facility on the West Coast.