Sightline Series

The Northwest's Pipeline on Rails

Since 2012, nearly a dozen plans have emerged to ship large quantities of crude oil by train to Northwest refineries and port terminals. This would be a major change for the Northwest’s energy economy, yet so far, the proposals have largely escaped notice. This series begins with a report that is the first comprehensive, region-wide review of all the oil-by-rail projects planned or currently operating in the Pacific Northwest, and it proceeds with updates on and analysis of their development.

For analysis of the traffic impacts of oil and coal trains in communities throughout the Northwest, see the series “The Wrong Side of the Tracks.”

For analysis of potential spills on Northwest waters, see the series “The Risk of Northwest Oil Spills.”

Posts on The Northwest's Pipeline on Rails

59. Event: Southwest Washington—the Oil Industry’s Sacrifice Zone?

Eric de Place and Vancouver area experts discuss Big Oil's designs on the city.

58. Why New Improved Oil Trains Are Not Nearly Good Enough

A closer look at the many flaws of CPC-1232 tank cars.

57. Sightline on Kinder Morgan and Columbia River Energy Schemes

Recommended listening—and reading—on Northwest coal and oil plans.

56. How Tesoro Manipulates Washington State Politics

Oil company needs Gov. Inslee's blessing but spends big opposing him.

55. How Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton Made Oil Trains Less Safe

Are lives worth more than oil-by-rail industry costs?

54. Oil Trains: The Industry Speaks for Itself

A record of denial and deceit, in photos.

53. What Do Oil Train Explosions Cost?

And why cities and towns would have to pay the damages.

52. The Big Problem with Letting Small Railroads Haul Oil

The Lac-Mégantic disaster: was it just the brakes?

51. Video: The Thin Green Line

How Northwest will shape the future of the world's energy economy.

50. Event: “The Thin Green Line” in Bellingham

A presentation and Q&A on Northwest coal, oil, and gas exports.