Today the Port of St. Helens unanimously approved a proposal by Global Partners to remove the API limit at their Port Westward oil/ethanol facility, which opens the door for heavier oils like tar sands.
Today’s vote paves the way for more catastrophic oil trains barreling through communities across the region. The Port Commission chose to ignore local elected officials from St. Helens and people that live along the rail line. Instead, the Commission rushed to approve dangerous new oil products at Global’s Port Westward facility and opened the door to controversial tar sands-by-rail. Oil trains impose tremendous risks to public health, drinking water, and fishing grounds. The Port’s rush to approve more oil trains is uninformed, unconscionable, and reckless.
Unfortunately, today's vote increases the risk to all communities on rails that carry dangerous tar sands and crude oil to Port Westward. Threats to health and safety were pushed aside to give Global Partners a green light. This means delayed emergency response, increased air and water pollution, increased noise, increases risk of spills, fire, and explosions. Low income, communities of color and tribal nations will be disproportionately impacted.