Donate Sign up for e-network
CENTER for BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY Because life is good

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Find out more from the
Center for Biological Diversity:
Oil Trains 
Oregonian, September 4, 2014

Oregon, Washington oil train spill plans don't protect endangered salmon, environmental groups allege
By Rob Davis

It's no secret: Accident planning has lagged behind the rapid increase in trains moving crude oil alongside some of Oregon's most iconic rivers, best-known salmon runs and world-renowned fishing destinations....

Two environmental groups say that widely acknowledged fact must change, announcing Thursday that they intend to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Coast Guard to ensure that the agencies address spill risks to salmon and other endangered species.

The Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Columbia Gorge say oil spill plans – the blueprints for responding to an oil train accident on the Columbia River, Deschutes River and other sensitive areas – are outdated. Those plans haven't considered the risks oil train accidents pose to salmon and other key species, the groups allege.

If an oil train crashed and spilled tomorrow, they say, the region wouldn't be ready for the environmental catastrophe that could follow.

"Oil trains post an enormous danger we can't overlook," says Jared Margolis, a Center for Biological Diversity attorney, "and we need spill response plans that acknowledge that risk and protect vulnerable wildlife."

A key shortcoming, Margolis says, is that the region's plan hasn't incorporated lessons learned from the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Spill plans in the Northwest allow for the use of a toxic chemical dispersant called Corexit, widely used in the Deepwater Horizon spill. But Corexit's effects on salmon and other endangered fish hasn't been studied, the groups say, and should be immediately.

The groups gave the federal agencies a formal 60-day notice of their intent to sue.

This article originally appeared here.

Photo © Paul S. Hamilton