crude oil

The coast has generally been considered the area of the Northwest most at risk for a catastrophic oil spill. But the rise in oil moving through the region by rail has raised the stakes for some inland areas.

Environmental regulators in Washington state are expecting a lively crowd Thursday in the coastal city of Hoquiam.

Nearly 30 percent of the gas released during crude oil production in the Bakken oil fields is flared off – burned into the air and essentially wasted.

This week, a Houston-based company proposed building a terminal in Longview, Wash. that would collect some of those gases and export them.

EarthFix Photo/Katie Campbell

Neither states nor the federal government have oversight over how railroads plan for responding to spills from trains carrying crude oil, meaning environmental regulators cannot identify gaps in the plans or verify a railroad’s abilities to carry them out.

Flickr Photo/Russ Allison Loar (CC BY-NC-ND)

Have you been wondering about the Port of Portland’s position on oil by rail? If so, you’re not alone.

As more and more oil by rail developments crop up around the Pacific Northwest, the port has received “numerous inquiries” about whether it, too, would be willing and able to receive shipments of crude from the Bakken oil fields.

Opponents of a planned oil-by-rail terminal urged Port of Vancouver USA commissioners at their meeting Tuesday to cancel its lease with terminal companies Tesoro Corp. and Savage Companies, raising several arguments against what would be the largest oil-to-marine terminal in the Northwest. But that terminal might not be the biggest factor affecting oil train traffic through the city.

Courtesy of Transportation Safety Board of Canada

The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued an emergency order requiring crude oil from North Dakota and Montana to be tested before being transported by railroads.

Tuesday’s order follows several fiery derailments involving shipments of crude oil. It is intended to ensure greater safety when the highly flammable liquid is being shipped.

EarthFix Photo/Katie Campbell

Train traffic will dramatically increase in the Pacific Northwest, if proposed coal export terminals and crude oil terminals are built. That’s the conclusion of an updated report from the Western Organization of Resource Councils.

Flickr Photo/Raymond D. Woods Jr. (CC BY-NC-ND)

Powerful members of the Washington state Senate are on board with a plan to tax crude oil shipped into the state by rail.

The money raised would pay for oil spill response and clean up.

Crude Oil Terminal Planned In NW Portland

Feb 18, 2014

PORTLAND -- A national fuel storage company has plans to turn an asphalt plant near the Willamette River into a rail and marine terminal for crude oil.

Tesoro To Upgrade To Safer Oil Tankers

Feb 10, 2014

A company that’s shipping crude oil through the Pacific Northwest has announced it’s upgrading its fleet to safer tanker train cars. The announcement comes after several derailments, fires, and explosions prompted safety concerns, including an explosion in Quebec last summer that killed 47 people.

In Olympia, state lawmakers are going down divergent tracks in how to respond to the rapid increase of crude oil trains crossing the region.