Since 2008, the U.S. has used less oil, partly from more-efficient vehicles. But we have also increased rail shipping of crude oil; from 10,000 train cars to over 400,000 per year. So if we can't use it all, why is there a push to ship it to the west coast? Where's it all going and who is profiting from it? Burlington Northern and oil companies can get higher prices for this toxic product on the international market.
What is the cost to our communities? I believe onsite drilling rigs and tar sand extraction process destroys ecosystems, causing climate change, illness and death. Along the oil transport path, the cost can be anything as annoying as heavy traffic congestion (of which the taxpayer is expected to alleviate through millions of dollars of infrastructure), to exploding oil trains (four in the last six months). One spill from a tanker transporting oil on the Salish Sea I believe could push orcas to extinction and cost our economy $10.8 billion and eliminate 165,000 jobs.
This problem is growing. Six new rail track and terminal projects are being proposed, increasing potential throughput from 183,600 barrels per day to 601,300. I believe this spells a drastic increase in safety and environmental concerns for our communities.
Until an environmental impact statement can be done, we need a statewide moratorium on permitting new oil transportation infrastructure.