Thursday 2 May 2013—Bearing ceramic proppants destined to support the Bakken Oil Formation oil shale fracking industry, the Star Dieppe, latest in a series of ships to bear the same cargo, enters Budd Bay to arrive at the Port of Olympia. Fracking has become popular slang term for hydraulic fracturing, the act of fracturing rock below the Earth's surace for access to fossil fuels, gas and oil. The Bakken Shale formation is in Western North Dakota, and Southern Saskatchewan Canada. Some of the fracked oil is being routed by train back to West Coast ports, and more oil export facilities have been proposed. For more information, please visit 1) academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz/oilconnections.pdf, 2) www.olympiafor.org/Climate_Crisis.html, and 3) Olympia Port Fracking Resistance on Twitter.
People have been organizing to oppose and now resist these shipments. Efforts to persuade the Port to stop importing the shipments (including educational events and public testimony at Port Meetings) have so far been ineffective. People are now considering possible next steps. One idea includes asking people with downtown businesses and residences how they feel about the Port importing materials that promote climate change and sea-level rise. The next educational event will be Saturday the 18th of March, 1:30pm, at the Olympia Center, downtown.
Deep below the surface of the Earth, bedrock is being fractured, using chemicals, explosives, and high pressure fluids. The Hydraulic Fracturing industry has seen a boom over the past several years, all over the lower 48, there are fossil fuel deposits deep below the Earth, embedded in layers of shale (sedimentary deposits that have formed rock.)
Washington State does not have shale formations (nor do Oregon or California.) However, we are not as removed as we might be from this booming development in the fracturing of the Earth's crust. For oil is coming here. Oil has been arriving from the Bakken oil shale formation by train. Information suggests that oil has been coming to Anacortes and Tacoma, and new facilities have been proposed elsewhere, in SW Washington, Grays Harbor, and Vancouver, WA.
More over, Olympia is directly implicated in this effort, because the Port of Olympia has been receiving shipments of ceramic proppants. Proppants are a material that enables fracking by propping up the Earth, allowing for the oil and gas to escape.
Earlier this week, a group of Olympians traveled to Grays Harbor, to join a protest against a proposed oil train terminal. Supporters hope to have a major CBR (Crude by Rail) oil export facility built and operating there by 2014.
The Port of Olympia continues to move fracking materials from China to the Bakken Formation in North Dakota. I think that makes the Port an accessory to murder of the planet.
We have some work to do with the Port of Olympia Commissioners. We continue to talk to the three commissioners. The next opportunity to speak to them is April 22nd at 5:30 pm at the LOTT Building. If you want to sign a petition to ask the Commissoners to stop importing fracking materials, click on this link.
Here's a photo of the Kai Xuan departing the Port of Olympia Marine Terminal on Monday the 18th of March 2013. The ship was used to transport ceramic "proppants," destined for use in the oil shale fracking industry. A frenzy of fracking has created a boom in the fracking industry of Western North Dakota, centered around the Bakken Formation. The Bakken contains a high amount of oil, as well as gas. Because of the presence of oil, much of the gas that has been released has been flared as waste. There were a couple of flash mobs at the port on while the ship was in, more information about that event can be found on facebook, here. And also, more recently, on Tuesday the 16th of April there was an educational meeting about what has been happening in North Dakota in relation to the fracking industry. Information about that event also on facebook, here.
Went sailing last Sunday, the same day as the Paddle to Squaxin Island Canoe Landing. Stayed far to the West side of the bay, so as to not interfere, although the Coast Guard had to ask us to move to get out of the way of that giant steel ship, Hosanger, as it cleared out of the Port at the same time the canoes were landing at North Point.
In one area of the bay the water seemed to be reddish-brown. After inquiring with LOTT, I was assured that effluent discharge would not cause the water to change color, and it might be caused by Port water run-off tinted by tannins from logs. According to LOTT, the effluent discharges from some 50 or so odd points along a 1,000 foot long pipe, which starts some couple hundred or so feet Northwest of the extremity of the northern tip of the peninsula.
Visit to Port Plaza at high tide coincided with log bulker departure from Marine Terminal pier. photos and a/v:
and some video:
Lots of logs shipping from the Port, these days. Lots of clearcutting too.
Percival Landing—I think this scene is interesting because the mast looks like a cross, and there is what appears to be smoke emanating from it.
Also the light in the cool and hazy evening air. And the glassy calm water. Photo's from about 6:15pm.
larger version below: