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Anacortes Forum Will Focus On Oil Train Safety, Emergency Response

Elaine Thompson
AP Photo
An oil train was stopped by protesters in Everett in September 2014

In 2011, there was no crude oil transported by train in Washington. Two years later, 700 million gallons of crude came through the state.

Concern over those trains has prompted officials in Anacortes to hold a forum Wednesday evening to discuss emergency response. 

Anacortes has two oil refineries nearby, one run by Shell and the other by Tesoro, so the city has to prepare for a possible oil train accident.

Liz Lovelett is a member of the Anacortes city council and one of the organizers of the forum. She says after she got elected a year and a half ago, it became clear that lots of people were worried about the proximity of trains full of flammable materials.

Lovelett says she wants the forum to be an opportunity for residents to speak directly with officials from Shell and Tesoro.

"This is a very divisive subject and I really wanted them to come to be able to give their perspective on their projects, and especially to deal with the issues of safety, prevention and response," Lovelett said.

Representatives from BNSF Railway along with state and Skagit County officials will also be at the forum. Congressman Rick Larsen will give an update on regulation at the federal level. 

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.