There have been five serious crude oil rail accidents in the last year. It is long past time for our elected officials to take a stand against the proposed crude oil projects for Grays Harbor. No more relying on the “grow the economy, create jobs” catch phrase.
The rail and oil companies say they have regulations in place to address the public ‘s concerns about spills and explosions. But companies have a long history of complaining that regulations stifle their ability to compete. They plead to weaken the regulations, and then they ignore them. The plant responsible for the recent chemical spill in West Virginia had not been inspected since the 1990s.
Our Grays Harbor home is precious. Companies may proceed with the best of intentions to have a safe operation, but something is bound to happen. The place an accident will come from will not be expected, predicted or planned for. It will be of the “Who wudda thunk it?” variety. Its very unexpected nature will provide a liability cover for all the companies. It will, however, create jobs for lawyers helping the companies avoid paying for their mistakes. The only regulation they recognize is the one requiring them to make more money.
To the companies proposing to bring crude oil to Grays Harbor, the mayors can say “no.” City Council members can say “no.” County Commissioners can say “no.” The voters can say “no” to their re-election if they don’t.
Mary Kaye Riley