From: Seattle Times
Seattle Times business reporter
As oil trains hauling North Dakota crude delay rail transport of grain to Pacific Northwest ports, the prospect of growing fossil-fuel traffic has some fearing that such shipping disruptions will become a long-term problem impeding exports and the regional economy.
A surge in oil trains hauling North Dakota’s energy bonanza is interfering with grain shipments to Pacific Northwest ports, prompting fears of a chronic crisis in which railcars carrying fossil fuels crowd out other products and disrupt exports.
Washington wheat farmers have been luckier than their Upper Midwest cousins because most can ship their wheat by barge down the Columbia River.
But those farther from the river, who typically rely on railroads, are increasingly paying truckers to move their wheat to a barge port. Farmers and others worry that costs and delays will get worse as more trains carrying oil — and perhaps coal — clog the region’s rail lines. MORE