Safe Energy Leadership Alliance (SELA)
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.
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 mission—to 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 employees—and 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.
- SELA letter to Port of Vancouver Comissioners [PDF]
- SELA letter Tesoro Savage DEIS [PDF]
- SELA letter regarding Shell EIS scoping Anacortes [PDF]
- SELA letter DEIS for Westway and Imperium [PDF]
- SELA letter to Metro Vancouver Board of Directors Fraser Surrey docks [PDF]
- SELA letter to USACE- Lummi Nation treaty rights [PDF]
- SELA letter to USACE- Tesoro-Savage petroleum terminal [PDF]
- King County comment letter on UTC oil transport safety rules [PDF]
- SELA letter to Governor Otter- oil transport [PDF]
- Governor Brown responds to SELA's letter on oil transport safety [PDF]
- SELA letter to Governor Brown- oil transport [PDF]
- King County letter to Senators Murray and Cantwell on USACE Gateway Pacific permit [PDF]
- USDOT responds to SELA's call for emergency order on older, unsafe tank cars [PDF]
- U.S. Secretary of Transportation responds to SELA and King County comments on rulemaking [PDF]
- SELA letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation [PDF]
- SELA letter to Governor Inslee - Oil transport and coal export [PDF]
- King County comment letter on safe transportation of materials [PDF]
- See more news...
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 SELA@kingcounty.gov or call (206) 263-1905.