Apparently, I am in the minority of those whose letters you’ve printed about shipping oil through the Port of Grays Harbor. The majority of the letters that I have read seem to have a “Doomsday negativism.” They only seem to look at the worst possible outcome, no matter how remote it may be. If there are problems, then we should be trying to find solutions rather than just having the attitude “not in my backyard.”
I have a little concern about the safety of the on-site storage and transfer at the Port. There has been, however, considerable increase over the years in safety procedures in that type of construction, storage and transfer. Considering the number of oil ports around the world, how many have had serious failures? When I mentioned in a previous letter that the area of the Valdez spill seems to be recovering, one person chastised me by saying that species have been lost. To make such a statement one must know of a species that had lived in the area that is no longer able to do so. Are there any?
However, the weak link for port oil is the railroad. The company recently says they have plans to upgrade the rail line to responsibly handle the traffic. We still have the problem of trains disrupting the businesses at the “Wishkah” Mall in Aberdeen. When the plans were first presented at the Log Pavilion, the railroad representative said they had no plan to build a bridge to bypass the business district of Aberdeen. The plan then was to adjust train schedules for as little disruption as possible. I believe a rail bridge is the best solution to handle any increased business through the Port in the future. I am assuming that the Port business can and will continue to grow and get better.
For those who have concerns about safety (I am one of them), remember that no human activity is without risk. We normally guess (educated or otherwise) that the benefit outweighs the risk by trying to improve the conditions in which we currently live.