Letters to the Editor

Wants broader tax on oil shipping

There is a lot of volatile oil being shipped through Washington State from North Dakota these days. I’m glad Doug Erickson has eventually (after two years) agreed to a oil transportation safety bill (SB 5057), but the devil is in the details. Doug’s bill includes an increase in the barrel tax, such as is required when oil is shipped in tankers. But I believe it should also be included on oil shipped by pipelines. Oil companies should pay for the necessary safety inspections and improvements.

And why doesn’t his bill include marine safety in our vulnerable Puget Sound and San Juan Islands area? Can you imagine an oil spill, or the regret we would feel for an accident we could have prevented by putting safety regulations into effect?

This is an urgent issue; volatile oil in train cars and on barges is increasing dramatically because of increases in output in North Dakota and in Alberta. All of this puts our environment at risk of an accident which we can imagine only too well. We should be able to count on our legislators to regulate the risks.

Mary H. Mele