I need to weigh in on the side of the Port for trying to bring new exports through the Harbor. It seems that the objections for bringing crude oil are the concerns for safety and preserving the environment. At the meeting in the Log Pavilion I believe that Port Executive Director Gary Nelson addressed those concerns adequately. If there is an accident to the train it would not be in the Aberdeen area because of the slow speed of the train. The main possibility for the spilling of the crude would be in transferring the crude from the port to the ships that transport the crude to wherever it is heading. Both of those actions, as well as overall train transport, have been relatively free from problems over the past years and safeguards are being improved all of the time.
Give the operators and builders some credit to make everything that is done to be as safe as possible. They don’t want anything to go wrong any more than you or I do. Remember that no activity of man is completely safe! We take considered risks all the time. If you are in a car you risk being hurt, maimed or killed on any trip.
In the event of a spillage we have emergency crews who will keep the damage at a minimum. Also remember that the earth we live on heals pretty quickly. Note that the Gulf is returning to normal. Alaska has substantially recovered from its oil spill and our state has recovered from the natural disaster caused by St. Helens.
It seems that the legitimate concerns are noise and inconvenience. Remember the noise from a bunch of log trucks running before the spotted owl slowed things. The inconvenience is not as much as it was before the railroad people made some needed adjustments and I believe they will be making more. I waited in the mall for about 10 minutes once for a train of approximately 100 cars to pass. That does not seem to be a great sacrifice for several Harbor families to have work and a decent living standard.
If the port continues to grow and more rail traffic is needed, then a rerouting of rail lines over the river could and should be considered similar to what Mr. Furford has proposed.
The economy of the Harbor needs to be improved and the Port is attempting to do its part in helping that improvement.