WA Department of Ecology report highlights stats on crude oil transport by rail

Rail crude oil transport routes in Washington State. Photo courtesy of the Washington State Department of Ecology.

By Stefanie Donahue

A report released by the Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE) reveals that 618 million gallons of crude oil entered the state by rail between October 1 and December 31, 2016.

The report was released on January 19 under the Oil Transportation Safety Act and will be the first of many quarterly snapshots detailing crude oil volume and movement by rail and pipeline as well as details on reported spills.

“We now have a more complete picture of crude oil moving through Washington because we have information about all modes of transport – vessel, rail and pipeline,” said Dale Jensen, DOE spills program manager in a statement. “Today, emergency responders know ahead of time that crude oil is moving through their communities and can better prepare for potential spills.”

According to the report, 21,603 rail cars holding crude oil passed through Washington between October 1 and December 31 – that’s an average of 1,543 cars per week.

The reports are largely intended for use by emergency service providers to prepare for spills, derailments or other potentially harmful accidents. However, they’ll also be released for local governments, tribes and the public.

To view the full report, visit https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/documents/1708002.pdf.

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