The Department of Ecology just released its study on rail safety. The risk associated with climate change is dismissed in a few words: “The extent to which the burning of fossil fuels affects climate is well understood by Ecology. This issue is not within the scope of this study.”
There is no “safe” way to transport this oil. Worse, there is no safe way to burn it. If “the extent to which the burning of fossil fuels affects climate” is well understood by Ecology, how can the irreversible climate safety impact of burning this oil not be included? If they understand the gravity of climate change, how can Ecology be the lead agency to permit oil terminals at Grays Harbor?
Allowing transport of this oil from the Bakken formation, by rail, enables extraction. It also enables future extraction and transport of tar sands oil. The greenhouse gas emissions from these sources, enabled by this rail transport, are massive. Enough to put us well over 2 degrees celsius of global warming. It’s the end of the world as we know it. Ocean acidification affecting our oysters and the ocean food chain, low stream flows and high temperatures in streams affecting our salmon, drought in California – and in our future, fires, heavier rains, mudslides. Climate change is not within the scope of a rail safety study. Not within the scope of permitting for extraction. Not within the scope of permitting for the oil terminals. Not on our radar.