Letter: Columbia River too narrow for risks



Crude oil defined by federal hazardous material standards is a class 3 flammable liquid and by international standards poisonous by inhalation, having a high hazard rating for toxicity and flammability.

Byproducts of crude oil can acutely affect the respiratory system and skin. These include, but are not limited to, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, benzene and sulfur oxides, including hydrogen sulfide gas. Crude oil is subject to ignition by static electricity. It persists in the environment decades after spills, toxically coating shorelines and marine floor environments. Ignition of cargo within rail, vessel or storage tanks would result in a catastrophic explosive event and continuous release of respiratory poisons.

To transfer, transport and/or store these products in this highly populated, narrow area of the Columbia River would not be a responsible decision. Despite everyone’s best efforts, vapor releases and spills would result, creating health hazards and deteriorating the environment, which is Vancouver’s most viable and tradable commodity.

After 20 years in oil spill and hazmat response with the U.S. Coast Guard, now retired, I’ve witnessed the instant and gradual environmental destruction from spills like Exxon Valdez, Katrina and the many more frequent “smaller” spills in between. Believe me, you don’t want this.

Lucia Mack