Brunell column misses the high-volume risk

I would like to write a short comment to Mr. Don C. Brunell, whose “Trucks, trains, ships and pipelines” was posted on The Daily World website on June 23.

Let me simmer down a bit, here and gather my thoughts … where do I begin?

Talk about misleading and meandering from the point; the point is the “Volumes” — the voluminous volumes of exceedingly explosive crude oil by rail proposed to travel through each of our communities here on Grays Harbor and over more than 100 streams and bodies of water. For that matter, through each community — all the way from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota. Then to be stored in a tsunami zone, earthquake liquefaction area, high tides, heavy rains, high winds (130 mph recorded in 2007, 2009).

What we are NOT talking about is a single truck delivering propane to Quinault Lodge. Do you understand the difference between those two issues?

Each of these 110 trains monthly will be 1 1/2 miles long — carrying the same volume of oil spilled in 1989 in the Alaska Valdez spill — yes, each train. That presents impossible, unmitigatable problems of emergency response, both for clean-up and fire as well as imminent danger for loss of lives and homes.

Another recent 16-car oil train derailment on June 23, near Plaster Rock in New Brunswick, Canada, was also carrying cars full of propane — attached to the same train.


This recent exploding bomb train was likened to a nuclear blast hundreds of feet into the air, necessitating health and breathing warnings to people within a mile of that derailment.

Where did you get your figures on percentages of safe transport? This explosion being the most recent of five or six in the last few months, none of which get the proper national news coverage they warrant for public interest. Then, again, public interest or safety doesn’t seem to be rated too high on the list for crude by rail oil project proposals at the Port of Grays Harbor.

Neither has public safety or environmental concern been noted by our three current port commissioners. As with Mr. Brunell they have failed to recognize the risks of transport by rail or by barges crossing the second most dangerous bar on the west coast — to the waiting tankers. The increased vessel traffic with the proposed projects at Grays Harbor stands to take over the port with their 2.7 billion gallons per year of crude oil export.

In this article, there was blatant failure to acknowledge many facts that make this a hideous proposal and one to end life on Grays Harbor for anything except oil exporting. As if everyone stands to benefit from this undertaking! Ha!

Besides, I’m tired of being slurred for stating public interest and concerns about something so fundamentally unsafe and unsound. When concerned citizens with factual information are being called merely alarmists, environmentalists and worse, not pro jobs — someone needs to wake Mr. Brunell up to the facts of life regarding crude by rail: risks to health, safety and a spill of ruination in our estuary. As for “pushing tons of hazardous freight onto our over-crowded highways,” that also seems like a bit of an alarmist point of view.

I have a good idea: How about stop fracking our earth to death, sending us exploding bombs on rails and get on with some visionary clean energy ideas — like our clean energy governor promised we were going to do!

Right Governor Inslee?

Carol Seaman



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