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An open letter to our clean energy governor on crude oil and coal by rail

Dear friends,

Looking at the Governor’s Office press release archives for May and June—seeing Governor Inslee’s directive on crude oil and the current EIS for crude oil proposals for the Port of Grays Harbor—one feels empty—empty words. Not properly addressing the known risks of crude by rail to citizens across this State. This oil explodes. This oil is impossible to clean up. There will be a spill. For what it’s worth, I am compelled to send another communication.

Compare this empty directive to the many press releases made in recent weeks by our governor stating the good and powerful actions he’s taking for clean energy and carbon emissions. Impressive, but that flies in the face of the proposed crude oil projects, as well as coal, here in our Ports of Washington. Do you suppose his advisors have not told him what is happening in Grays Harbor…Vancouver…Cherry Point…Olympia…that people are restless? Treaties are being broken. He needs to know. Send a message, today! Come to Grays Harbor. Help us honor the lives lost so far to a vast expansive plan for bringing Big Oil exporting to our ports.

We can share with you some valuable information on three proposed oil projects, Westway, Imperium and U.S. Development—companies planning to put all at risk, here. These first two companies are now being reviewed with full EIS (Environmental Impact Statement), after failure in the first round of applications (SEPA). Big Petroleum gets a second chance to monopolize our port, with a plan to bring in 2.7 billion gallons a year for storage, barging to tankers and out along the last wild coast in Washington with $300,000 “donated” by our legislature and given to our governor to help the cause. Write that message—to the governor—write it today.

Leave your comments at the Governor’s website: (fortress.wa.gov/es/governor/) or send a letter. [The Governor’s address is on the sample letter below.]

Please. Write today. Feel free to plagiarise all, or some, of my simple, possibly desperate, words.

Carol Seaman,a resident of Grays Harbor, lives close to the beautiful Chehalis River near the site of a recent grain derailment.

My letter goes like this:

Governor Jay Inslee
Office of the Governor
PO Box 40002
Olympia, WA 98504-0002

Dear Governor Inslee:

Pray tell, why doest thou remain so silent?

Oh my…where do I begin. Our “clean energy” governor. Let’s begin with this—we are out here waiting for you to drop a line—to us…not a directive to the Department of Ecology. No offense intended, but do you think we are dim on the clean vs. dirty energy issue? How on earth can you brag about being against (imported) coal generated electricity, and allow the putrid, arsenic ridden coal trains to come to our ports, polluting Washington; then export that coal elsewhere (east of here) so it can be burned–killing people there (east of here) and coming back to visit us in the form of some seriously polluted carbon emitting air? Which way does the wind blow, Governor…with you, and coal and crude oil?

Please, step up to the plate—you are supposed to be the steward of this pristine State of Washington! We need your assistance in this fight against coal trains and terminals and crude oil trains and oil tank “farms.” Coal rears its ugly head; Cherry Point, up near Bellingham promises to be the largest coal exporting terminal in the United States! Cherry Point—home of the Lummi Indian’s “Xwe’chi’eXen”–sacred site. Is it just me, or have others written, thinking we’re selling out our state, our people and our environment—putting all at risk for Big Petroleum—so “it” can make a bundle. What are we getting for this sacrifice? For pete’s sake, Big Oil already makes more than $167 billion in profits per year. The largest profits of any other corporation in the world. So, you see, this is a global issue.

Must we now sell out this state—the State of Washington? Sacrifice our environmental integrity, health and safety, so Big Petroleum can increase their profits? Astounding—shameful—while you commiserate and comment and answer questions on the state of marijuana, on clean energy, on everything but coal and “crude oil by rail” promising to barrel through our communities, down the Columbia River Gorge, crossing more than a 100 streams, literally taking over the rail system in the State of Washington, including our Ports.

We are in danger! The “Gold Rush” mentality being demonstrated regarding crude oil from the Bakken Shale needs to be rethought—with the citizens in mind—and the serious risks involved to our waters and people. In Grays Harbor, alone, 31% of our jobs are directly or indirectly related to the fish and shellfish industry. This is serious. One spill, one explosion—it is all over. While you are singing the praises of clean energy and proudly signing those papers, why don’t you sign a little paper that says:
No crude oil by rail in the state of Washington. Its cost is not worth the risk and all is at risk here…

Signed X________________

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