By Aaron Corvin, September 15, 2014, The Columbian
Port of Camas-Washougal commissioners on Tuesday will discuss whether to make a statement about the movement of oil by rail in Clark County and Washington. Commissioners Mark Lampton, Bill Macrae-Smith and Bill Ward also will receive a presentation by a representative of the joint venture that wants to build the Northwest’s largest oil transfer terminal at the Port of Vancouver.
The statement is a draft resolution, proposed by Ward, that spells out multiple public safety concerns and that says the port will take several steps to address them. Those steps include supporting “any actions taken by Camas, Washougal, Vancouver and other cities threatened by oil trains to restrict train movement until such time as a full fleet of U.S. (Department of Transportation) certified tank cars are used and effective disaster response measures can be implemented throughout the entire Columbia Gorge, or Bakken crude oil is stabilized prior to shipment to render it non-hazardous during transport.”
The resolution is listed as discussion and action items on the port’s agenda. Its fate is unclear. Both Lampton and Macrae-Smith questioned the resolution’s usefulness. “You can issue resolutions about any number of things, but does it really have any impact on anything?” Lampton said. “The answer to that, I believe, is no.”
Ward said he modeled his proposed resolution, which focuses on rail safety, on one that was recently adopted by Port of Olympia commissioners on a 2-1 vote. It’s intended to help build “an alliance of communities that are going to be impacted by the trains,” Ward said, so that their voices are better heard at the state and federal levels.
The Port of Camas-Washougal commission’s regular public meeting begins at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the port’s office, 24 S. A St. in Washougal.