After the North Dakota crude oil boom started, trains began hauling explosive Bakken crude oil through North Idaho. Two or three crude-by-rail trains, with more than 100 cars each, travel daily through communities to refineries and shipping terminals on the Washington coast. As Idaho residents, all we get are risks to our lives, land and water, plus long waits at railroad crossings.
Soon there could be even more trains, because the big oil companies are now orchestrating federal legislation to remove the 40-year-old ban on exporting crude oil. Since the price of oil is down, they are pressuring Congress to lift the ban with the usual ad campaigns, lobbying and donations. They are seeking support from foreign governments, as well as U.S. lawmakers representing major oil-producing states.
If this oil export ban is lifted, it will provide more oil for seven proposed shipping terminals in Washington. It would also increase the number of daily crude-by-rail trains dramatically, each with potential to derail, explode and burn. We can’t handle the risk, not at its current level and certainly not if these new terminals are built. Please urge congressional decision-makers to keep the export ban and to reject proposed new crude terminals.
Constance Albrecht, Sandpoint
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