BNSF makes commitments to EFSEC

By Vancouver Energy On February 15, 2017

BNSF Railway has long been committed to safety in its operations. Now BNSF has made even more extraordinary commitments to safety for the trains coming to the Vancouver Energy terminal, all of which will travel on BNSF’s tracks.

The Vancouver Business Journal reports that BNSF has made the following new commitments at the request of the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC), which is currently reviewing the terminal project.

--Inspection of every oil train traveling to Vancouver Energy, at the BNSF rail yard in Pasco or another location in Washington

--Inspection of rail track throughout the Columbia River Gorge 24 hours in advance of a Vancouver Energy-destined loaded crude oil train

--Triple the number of “geometry cars,” which are cars with sensors, X-rays and other technological equipment used to detect defects and other issues on the rail track. BNSF currently runs two geometry cars each year; the railway says it will run them six times a year once the Vancouver Energy terminal opens.

Jared Larrabee, General Manager of Vancouver Energy, told the Business Journal: “Those are pretty significant commitments. To my understanding, having project-specific commitments (like that) is something very new and unique.”

BNSF went on to describe other safety measures to EFSEC, according to the Business Journal.

In a letter to EFSEC, F. E. “Skip” Kalb, BNSF’s director of strategic development, wrote that “BNSF currently undertakes a number of voluntary safety programs that exceed federal requirements and further reduce the risk of rail-related incidents. This is especially true when it comes to crude by rail.”

The case is strong for Vancouver Energy.

Larrabee said that Vancouver Energy has agreed to operate at half of the oil terminal’s capacity until the terminal could show, for 12 straight months, that there were no environmental and safety incidents.

“We think there is a strong case to approve a project like this. It brings much needed jobs and a diverse base of jobs to the area,” he said.

Learn more about the economic benefits of Vancouver Energy.