Changes in fossil fuel activity have and continue to be a subject of some interest in Washington State. The latest are protests as well as legal wrangles associated with Shell Oil and Arctic Ocean drilling equipment in Seattle and Bellingham.
And of course there are the trains - both oil and coal. The northwest Washington refineries have all expanded their rail facilities the past couple of years in order to handle rail shipments of oil.
BP refinery in Whatcom County 2011
2014 image shows the new rail loop to the northeast
ConocoPhillips Whatcom County 2011
Rail spur added to the south 2014
Anacortes refinery 2011
Rail spurs added on the west side 2014 image
The rail expansion has been a big rapid change for the northwest Washington refineries and brought oil to the refineries in a manner that was a rather large change to rail traffic. The expansion of oil unit trains in Washington took place while hearings on coal terminals were attracting attention to rail traffic impacts. As accidents happened elsewhere involving the explosion of volatile oil rail cars, more attention has been brought on oil trains.
The rail oil shipments shown above are not limited to the local refineries. All three of these refineries have port facilities that allow loading of the oil on barges for shipments to other refineries on the west coast and other oil terminal sites have been proposed besides simply the refineries (bakken-oil-continues-moving-to-the-pacific-northwest).
The land foot print of rail lines at the refineries is rather small compared to the foot print where the oil is coming from (notes-on-coal-dust-and-bakken-oil).