The foremost targets of environmental protests in opposition to Huge Oil have been the proposed Keystone XL pipeline by way of the Midwest, and Shell Oil’s deliberate drilling in the Chukchi Sea off Arctic Alaska.
Actress Daryl Hannah and environmental superstar Robert F. Kennedy Jr. get arrested in anti-Keystone XL pipeline protest at the White House. Is Keystone XL delay and protest pushed oil industry towards West Coast?
Have the inexperienced activists properly picked their targets?
A simply-launched report, “West Coast Tar Sands Invasion by the Natural Sources Defense Council suggests that the Pacific Coast, including Washington, might feel the greatest impacts from North America’s main new oil production centers.
“While the pipeline fights rage on, as many as 11 new terminals are proposed in California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, says the report, ready by a major and credible environmental group.
“These proposed terminals, in combination with present terminals, may increase the region’s combined crude oil storage and exporting capacity six fold, from 690,000 barrels per day to nearly 4 million barrels per day. /p>
“Exporting capacity means oil tankers by means of British Columbia’s long, foggy, stormy Douglas Channel, and via inland waters of Washington and B.C., with populations of orcas, nationwide parks and nationwide monuments.
The report’s main findings:
-Oil by rail: The increase in shale-oil production in North Dakota has led to a dramatic increase in rail transport of crude, from lower than 20,000 barrels per day in 2008 to almost 800,000 barrels per day in 2013.
“A important portion of this oil is certain for refineries in Washington and California, says the report. “As shale oil producers keep selecting to use rail to achieve West Coast refineries, communities can count on a continuing stream of crude-laden rail vehicles by means of their neighborhoods. /p>
-A pipeline with higher capability of Keystone XL is headed our way. The Houston-based mostly Kinder Morgan pipeline firm needs to extend from 300,000 to 869,000 barrels per day the capability of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, which stretches from Alberta to Burnaby, B.C., simply east of Vancouver.
A child Orca whale and its mom swim in Haro Strait, the marine boundary between San Juan and Gulf Islands. The strait will see massive improve in oil tanker site visitors if pipeline enlargement bring 890,000 to Burnaby, B.C. Picture: Dave Ellifrit, The middle for Whale Analysis.
“This would, in turn, improve annual tanker site visitors from Vancouver harbor almost sevenfold, from 60 oil tanker and 18 barges to greater than 400 oil tankers, the report finds.
-The tankers will be traversing our waters, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Haro Strait, the boundary between the San Juan Islands of the U.S. and British Columbia’s Gulf Islands.
“At full capacity, these British Columbia projects could ship an extra 1.7 million barrels per day of Alberta tar stands crude by way of British Columbia’s and Washington’s sensitive waterways, says the report.
“This risk has been confirmed in a report ready by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which discovered that oil tanker and barge visitors is predicted to extend in Puget Sound with barges touring from Vancouver to refineries in Cherry Level and Tacoma.
-The Columbia River will see oil Petroleum traffic. The planned Tesoro Savage Vancouver Power Distribution Terminal in Vancouver, Wash., can have a handling capability of 365,000 barrels a day. It’s going to facilitate loading as many as 365 vessels a yr taking oil downstream.
“This will lead to 730 annual trips between Vancouver and the mouth of the Columbia River, says the report. The oil would be barged downstream after which loaded on tankers at Global Partners terminal at Clatskanie, Oregon.
-The oil industry, beset by protests in opposition to Keystone XL, is looking at distance. The huge Alberta tar sands challenge is landlocked. A path to water must be discovered so as to extend production and ship it to export markets.
The vast Alberta oil stands mission is on the lookout for an outlet to water. The West Coast is loads closer than the Gulf Coast. Petroleum Refining (Getty Images)
“Gulf Coast refineries are 3,000 miles from the tar sands producing region of Alberta, but only 1,000 to 2,000 miles from West Coast refineries and delivery terminals, says the report.
“Washington, for example, is only 1,000 miles away from Fort McMurray a third of the gap between northern Alberta and the Gulf Coast’s refineries. /p>
-New sources of oil present new dangers. Rail accidents and fires have exposed the volatility of crude oil from the Bakken Field in North Dakota. A pipeline spill in Michigan has revealed issues with Alberta tar sands oil.
“In 2010, an Enbridge tar sands pipeline in Michigan spilled greater than 800,000 gallons of tar sands diluted bitumen into the Kalamazoo river, says the report. “Spill responders struggled to include the heavy bitumen, which sand beneath the water’s surface, evading typical spill response measures designed to include lighter, floating oil.
The cleanup remains to be underway, its costs having soared above $1 billion.
The “Polar Pioneer one of two Arctic-certain Shell Oil drilling rigs, with Greenpeace protesters in foreground. Does Large Oil pose greater menace to the Strait of Juan de Fuca and inland waters?
Utilizing these incidents, the report warns states to develop a healthy skepticism toward the proposed ports, refineries, and export terminals.
‘As proposals are made to increase the volumes of heavy tar sands oil touring to West Coast ports via rail, tanker and pipeline, there remains to be not sufficient details about the full scope of the related dangers, it argues.
“In addition, we now know that a spill of tar sands crude cannot be addressed by typical spill mitigation know-how. /p>
Price pondering if that crude oil is being shipped through the San Juans, Gulf Islands and Strait of Juan de Fuca. We take a very protective angle toward these cherished locations.