Driving down I-5 recently, I saw miles and miles of railroad cars parked on tracks bordering the highway. They appeared to be empty, maybe lumber cars, but my mind jumped to the indelible, horrific picture of a town destroyed by exploding, fiery crude-oil tank-cars! Since that event in Lake Megantic, when a crude oil train rolled into town and wiped out its center, it has become nearly impossible to see a tank-car and not remember. Nearly 50 of its citizens died that night, incinerated by the blast.
Most of us are paying more attention, now.
Those parked rail cars along I-5 had probably been parked there for a long time without my noticing them, but now I notice. What if they weren’t empty? What if they were loaded with explosive, highly flammable materials? Would I be scared? You bet!
Back on Grays Harbor, I started paying attention! Just off Aberdeen’s State Street, maybe half a block away toward the bay, were lots of big tank-cars. What if they were filled with the highly explosive and flammable Bakken crude oil?
Those particular tank cars may not have been loaded with explosive Bakken crude oil, but if plans for bringing crude to the Harbor proceed, there will be many more tank-cars here in town, maybe a hundred a day. All of them loaded with volatile, explosive crude oil! How can we allow them to pass through here, even to park here? How can we feel safe when such a potential bomb is sitting right in town? Who’s responsible for these rail cars? The railroad? The port? Who? We need to speak up and tell them that we don’t want them here!