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Our shared mission is to better understand the potential safety and economic impacts from coal and oil trains, and to speak with a unified voice.

King County Executive Dow Constantine
  Coal Trains

The Safe Energy Leadership Alliance (SELA) is a coalition of local, state, and tribal leaders from across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, California, and Canada working to raise awareness of the safety risks of oil and coal transportation.

SELA represents a broad range of urban and rural areas with different interests but a shared missionto protect the health and safety of our communities.

Why it matters

In February 2015, a federal study predicted that trains hauling crude oil or ethanol will derail an average of 10 times each year over the next two decades, causing more than $4 billion in damage and endangering the lives of people in densely populated areas.

Just a few days after this report was released, a 109-car train derailed and caught fire in West Virginia, leaking crude oil into a tributary and burning a house to its foundation. The train burned for nearly a week.

The staggering increase in crude oil coming into the Pacific Northwest creates a new and significant risk to our people, our economy, and our environment. If all the proposed oil-by-rail projects across Washington are built, for example, more crude oil would be transported through Washington and Oregon than through the Keystone XL pipeline.

Economic and other impacts

More oil and coal trains would push high-profit goods off overcrowded rail lines, which harms our manufacturers. It would also make our traffic congestion worse, cutting off downtown businesses from their customers and employeesand delaying emergency responders.

It's not just more oil and coal coming through our communities, either. It's coming in on aging train cars that were not designed to carry volatile cargo. Our rail system was not built to handle the weight of mile-long oil and coal trains. This stresses an already dated infrastructure and increases the risk of potentially catastrophic derailments.

Communities along rail lines assume greater risks and costs while oil companies generate billions in profits.


What's happening

Get involved

We invite leaders from around the region to join us. Together, we will ensure that our local Northwest communities can continue to grow in a manner that keeps us all healthy, keeps our neighborhoods livable, enhances our existing jobs base, and protects our tribal and local economies and way of life.

For more information, email or call (206) 263-1905.

King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

Read the Executive's biography