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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Summit on risks, impacts of oil transport and coal export hosted by Executive Constantine

Summary

Executive Constantine brought together elected leaders in the Safe Energy Leadership Alliance to discuss the impacts mile-and-a-half-long coal trains would have on local commerce and traffic, as well as collective actions to protect communities from the increasing number of oil-train explosions, which a federal report predicts will cause more than $4 billion in damages and endanger the lives of residents in densely populated areas.

Story

Safe Energy Leadership Alliance
Safe Energy Leadership Alliance

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIAKing County Executive Dow Constantine brought together elected leaders from British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest amid an increasing number of oil-train explosions and growing concern about the safety, economic, and environmental impacts of coal export.

At the quarterly meeting of the Safe Energy Leadership Alliance (SELA), elected leaders analyzed the impacts that mile-and-a-half-long coal trains would have on local commerce and traffic.

They also discussed collective actions they can take to protect communities from the increasing number of oil-train explosions, which a federal report predicts will cause more than $4 billion in damages and endanger the lives of residents in densely populated areas.

“To protect our communities from the increasing risks and impacts of thermal-coal export and oil transport, we must have a unified front that crosses state and international borders,” said Executive Constantine, who Chairs the Safe Energy Leadership Alliance. “By working together, we’re making our voices heard at the national and international levelsand we’re seeing results.”

A year after Constantine hosted the first SELA meeting in Seattle, Alliance members have worked with local and state leaders to pass new regulations and resolutions designed to increase public and environmental safety along rail lines.

Both Washington state and Oregon this year passed new laws that increase oil-by-rail safety. At a convention earlier today in Vancouver, elected leaders from British Columbia passed a resolution calling for provisional and federal governments to expand the scope of risk assessment and response planning for a proposed thermal-coal-export terminal in Surrey.

There has been a 42-fold increase in the amount of oil shipped by rail across the United States since 2008, causing a sharp increase in the number of oil-train explosions in the United States and Canada. A 2013 fire in Quebec killed 47 people, followed by a large oil-train fire in Ontario earlier this year.

Proposed terminals for thermal-coal export in British Columbia and Washington state, meanwhile, would result in mile-and-half-long coal trains crossing through communities across both countries. During its meeting today in New Westminster, British Columbia, Alliance members will discuss the impact that the proposed terminals in Surrey and Bellingham would have on public health and safety, traffic and economic development all along the rail lines.


Relevant links


Quotes

To protect our communities from the increasing risks and impacts of thermal-coal and oil transport, we must have a unified front that crosses state and international borders. By working together, we’re making our voices heard at the national and international levels – and we’re seeing results.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive and Chair of the Safe Energy Leadership Alliance

The Safe Energy Leadership Alliance provides elected leaders on both sides of the border to deliver a consistent message, which is critical to our ability to protect our communities from the type of disasters we’ve seen across Canada and the United States.

Chuck Puchmayr, Councillor, New Westminster, British Columbia

For more information, contact:

Chad Lewis, Executive Office, 206-263-1250


King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

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