What is on my mind. Oil. Oil cars being hauled by trains to be exact.
Every time I hear of a train derailment in the Puget Sound Basin, I hurry to the computer, crossing my fingers and toes, hoping beyond hope that it is not an Oil Car that has derailed and is now leaking oil into my Sound.
There is the controversy about coal trains, and from a big picture standpoint I totally agree. The widespread impacts of coal and a ‘fossil fuel’ highway are a horribly dear price to pay. The damage to the tracks is far more immediate concern.
Of note: I am HUGELY proud of the Lummi Nation for standing up to SSA marine and sending their formal letter of disgust to the Army Corps of Engineers in the matter of the Gateway Pacific Terminal.
But it barely hits my radar in my constant fear for the health of Puget Sound. Stormwater scares me, and makes me angry. The potential tragedy that ONE oil car could do much less 3-5 (the number that generally seem to get pushed off the track by a landslide) leaves me trembling in my drysuit boots.
Puget Sound is a bathtub. A brackish sea, teeming with life. There are ledges, seen clearly on the bathymetric chart that restrict the flow of water, old water out and fresh water in. These ledges are rather close to the surface (by Puget Sound standards, she’s 900′ deep in places) and mean that we keep diving in the same bathwater, dive after dive, day after day, year after year.
All it would take is one oil tank car and a too slow spill response and we will be looking down the barrel of a mess that will last decades.