Local politics, the county, and the world, as viewed by Tammy Maygra
Tammy’s views are her own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bill Eagle, his pastor, Tammy’s neighbors, Wayne Mayo, Betsy Johnson, Joe Corsiglia, President Trump, Henry Heimuller, VP Pence, Pat Robertson, Debi Corsiglia’s dog, or Claudia Eagle’s Cats. This Tammy’s Take (with the exception of this disclaimer) is not paid for or written by, or even reviewed by anyone but Tammy and she refuses to be bullied by anyone.
See Standard Disclaimer.
After listening to the testimony at the Port of St Helens, meeting Nov. 28, 2018, by many people. Including oral comments addressed by the mayors of both Scappoose and St. Helens. I decided to write a resolution regarding impact, issues and concerns from the proposal by Global Partners to amend their lease with the Port and to increase oil train traffic through our community. I addressed some possible safeguards which should be in place to protect our community. My intent is to present this resolution to the St. Helens City Council.
A Resolution stating the City of St. Helens concerns and opposition to
WHEREAS, the City Council and Mayor under the St. Helens City Charter have the authority to protect the health, safety and general welfare of its citizens and have determined that the transport by rail of crude oil is contrary to the health, safety and general welfare of its citizens; and
WHEREAS, the City is committed to being a leader in protecting and sustaining the community, the local economy, the environment, the air quality, the water quality, and train derailments can lead to crude oil spills that pose a significant public health risk, and possible loss of life; and
WHEREAS, the rail road runs through the middle and the entire length of every major town, the impact of existing and proposed oil trains is potentially catastrophic in terms of loss of life and devastation of The City of St. Helens community, environment and economy; and
WHEREAS, the volume of oil trains is projected to increase dramatically by the proposal from Global Partners LLC to amend the current lease agreement with the Port of St. Helens, to increase the API designation of crude allowed; and
WHEREAS, tar sands crude, bitumen, or mid-weigh crude from Canada, The Dakotas or other regions is known to be extremely difficult to handle; if a derailment and spill occurs the heavier oil would sink into the Columbia River, streams, and creeks, making clean-up difficult, if not impossible; the lighter crude would spread across the streams and river fast as the current would carry it quickly, as industry admits that in a clean- up effort only 10%-15% of the entire spill is ever recovered, killing nearly all species which is effected as there is less than a 1% survival rate among contaminated individuals, and possibly pushing the already endangered and fragile salmon, steelhead, sturgeon species into extinction, the waterways and adjacent lands are critical for the endangered or threatened species, as well as important for other aquatic, fern and fauna; and
WHEREAS, derailment poses a significant threat for which we lack a specific emergency response plan; and
WHEREAS, the city and region has created an exceptional quality of life which the community desires to preserve; and
WHEREAS, the City and region is developing potential job growth with OMIC to attract industry and businesses in the immediate future, this growth and quality of life is endangered by intensified crude oil transport through the city and region; and
WHEREAS, the Governor of Oregon’s Preliminary Statewide Rail Safety Review of July 2014 cite concerns about the risk to public health and safety of crude oil trains because of faulty operational practices, inadequate maintenance, poor federal regulatory oversight, and lack of accountability in all areas of railroad operations management; and these factors are more likely to cause accidents and derailment; and
WHEREAS, the City and other local jurisdictions charged with protecting our region, stated that communities will bear the cost of cleaning up spills and explosions, from rail operations, which places a unacceptable burden on us that we are unwilling and refuse to accept; and
WHEREAS, according to the PHMSA more than 1.15 million gallons of crude oil was spilled in U.S. rail incidents in 2013; and in 2013 through early November, there were 137 crude releases as compared to just one in 2009; 1.5 million spilled in one year, while 800,000 gallons of crude had been spilled in the last 37 years (1975-2012) according to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration; and
WHEREAS, Oregon has 3,000 oil spills yearly, with over a million gallons of crude spilled, that is 12-14 calls per day according to DEQ; and
WHEREAS, Washington joins California as the only two West Coast states to require oil spill contingency plans for railroad operators, Oregon will introduce a similar plan in 2019; and
WHEREAS, oil tank cars built since 2011 meet the new CPC 1232 standard; the design of those new cars is unsettled and does not have a proven record of safe utilization, even at 10 mph the possibility of a derailment or accident is highly probable; and
WHEREAS, there have been a series of North American oil train derailments and spills, and one on June 3, 2016 in Mosier, Oregon, the result of track deficiencies, released 42,000 gallons of oil into the environment, some of it reaching the Columbia River; and
WHEREAS, BNSF rail plans to increase the unit trains from 1 mile to 1.5 mile long trains of crude oil and according to the ODOT; the number and length of proposed trains transporting the oil will affect local emergency response capabilities by blocking road crossings; and
WHEREAS, Global Partners have contracted with Clean River Corporative, an oil company member owned non-profit which allows the oil companies to deduct the cost of clean-up with a tax deduction, the insurance corporation of British Columbia concluded that letting international oil companies determine the goals and objectives on oil spill preparedness and response is a flagrant conflict of interest.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the City of St. Helens opposes transporting
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City supports economic growth that does not
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City urges the Federal Government to immediately implement safety regulations regarding train speeds and rail car designs which have not been proven to safely transport flammable crude oil; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the cited hazard and potential damage require that the owners and operators transporting crude oil by rail assume all risk and be sufficiently bonded and insured; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City requests that an Rail Impact and Transportation study be done by an independent source; and the results are made public; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that passage of this resolution shall not preclude the