Pacific Northwest environmentalists caution of what they fear will become an oil superhighway as scores of trains filled with oil power through the region.
The Longview (Wash.) Daily News reports that the crude is poring from North Dakota's Bakken share region and shipped across Idaho and onto Columbia River barges headed for west coast refineries. The Daily News reports that Tesoro is proposing to build a $100 million terminal at the Port of Vancouver just to accomodate the oil shipments.
"We're pretty concerned that you're creating a mobile pipeline down the Columbia River carrying this dirty fuel," said Dan Serres, conservation director of Columbia RiverKeeper.
According to the Daily News, by December 2012, North Dakota trains were hauling more than 660,000 barrels per day—more than double from December 2011. The oil is pushed out on mile-and-a-half long trains to refineries in the West, East and Gulf coasts.
In particular, Serres said he worries about congestion at crossings in towns along the Columbia Gorge.
"The stakes are really high," said Serres. "One major derailment of an oil train, or a spill, could have an enormous impact on our area."