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Safety, environmental risk is too great

The editorial board was correct in saying Washington must take action regarding the irresponsible lifting of the 40-year-ban on oil exports [“State leaders must act fast to prepare for more oil trains,” Opinion, Dec. 24]. So much for the argument that we needed fracking for “oil security.” The truth is that oil companies knew all along they would, and could, force through this legislation, not for the security of our country, but for profit. Shame on Congress.

It should not be the responsibility of Washington taxpayers to spend millions in preparation for the inevitable damage that will come when oil trains derail and explode. That responsibility should be in the hands of those who profit.

Given the track record of fossil fuel extractors and the regulators who are charged with enforcing compliance with safety and clean up requirements, there is only one way Washington can adequately prepare: deny any new terminals or refineries.

This will be Gov. Jay Inslee’s legacy. He will either stand with the people of Washington who live here because of the natural beauty and relatively clean environment, or he will come down on the side of those who will continue to trash the environment, endanger the people who live in it, and place our planet in further jeopardy of irreparable climate change.

Dianne Kocer, Brush Prairie

Bigger question looms

Thank you for drawing attention to the “dramatic increase in oil shipments through the region” and noting that we must address “concerns about safety, community disruptions from train traffic and impacts to existing industries like agriculture and fishing.”

It was conspicuous, however, that only two weeks after the historic Paris agreements the board did not include a word about the most important question: Is a dramatic build-out of oil transport infrastructure good public policy in our age when the burning of fossil fuels is heating the planet, melting glaciers, raising sea levels, and threatening global climate mayhem?

There is a huge need to raise consciousness about this issue here in America. While the U.S. population increasingly agrees that climate change is happening, most still feel that taking action is a low priority. This belief flies in the face of what climate scientists know — we need to take action now if we want to avoid untold catastrophes.

The United States can and should be a leader in the transition to clean energy. Your editorial asking us to examine this massive build-out of the fossil fuel transportation infrastructure was an excellent opportunity to make this point.

Andrew Kidde, Seattle