Portland, OR– For years, the tribes have been a part of the chorus of voices telling of the danger and risks posed by fossil fuel transportation through the Columbia River Gorge. Unfortunately today those worries have been validated. Every day, fossil fuel transportation through this ecologically and culturally important area risks the health, safety, and economic security of those living along the river. Tribal members fishing on the Columbia face even larger risks and potential impacts. Not only are they exposed day in and day out to the air and water in and along the Columbia, these families eat a diet heavy in fish caught from the river at risk.
Today’s train derailment and spill shows the catastrophic environmental risks that fossil fuel transportation along the Columbia River poses. The accident is a reminder that we should be reducing, not increasing the number of oil and coal trains along the river. If projects like the currently proposed Tesoro-Savage oil terminal or Millennium Bulk coal terminal are allowed to move forward, today’s accident will only be the first of what could be many more to come. We cannot stand idly by to this danger to the river, the salmon, and the people and communities who rely on them.