Crude Oil Terminal: Economic Boon Worth the Environmental Concern?

We read today that the Port of Tacoma has a new piece of business coming its way; the Puget Sound Business Journal reports that the Targa Sound Terminals will invest at least $80 million in a terminal to receive crude oil brought by railroad from Montana.  

The crude oil terminal will go up on the 80-acre former site of the Kaiser Aluminum smelter, where a container terminal was once planned.  The new facility will receive crude oil on trains.  That oil will then be either refined by nearby US Oil, or barged to other refineries to the north or elsewhere on the West Coast.

Recent concerns over coal trains have stirred up environmental concerns in our region, and Tacoma’s waterfronts are no strangers to businesses with significant environmental impacts.

Oregon Live has a lengthy rundown of some concerns relating to these crude oil trains and terminals.  The phrase “pipelines on wheels” alone might be enough to give an environmentalist pause.  

The PSBJ article includes some observations about the Port staying competitive by adapting to changing global trade patterns, which sounds like a good thing for the local economy, but does anyone have any concerns over potential environmental impacts?

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No, I don’t think it’s worth it to increase oil exports while many are focused on blocking exports of coal, another (even dirtier) climate disrupting fuel.  Tacoma doesn’t need to focus on old, dirty industries to have a successful economy.

May 28, 2013 at 9:48 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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