Recent train derailment prompts call for oil-by-rail ban

Jun 17, 2016  | Ep4143

A broken bolt appears to have been the cause of the most recent fiery oil- train crash in the Northwest. State of Oregon Transportation officials are concerned increased traffic of heavier oil trains are adding undo stress to the tracks. The potential for another derailment has raised the ire of many in the region who are fearful of another catastrophic fire, explosion or oil spill that could foul the nearby Columbia River.

Paul Yeager reports.

Over the past decade, twenty-seven oil trains and 11 ethanol trains have derailed in the U.S. and Canada --- with nearly half of the accidents occurring in just the last two years.

The latest incident happened nearly two weeks ago when 16 units of a 96-car train derailed near Mosier, Oregon. Nearly 100 people who lived within a quarter mile radius of the tracks were evacuated. While no one was injured, the 42,000 gallon spill forced the shutdown of the municipality’s water and sewer systems.

Local leaders in Oregon and Washington are pushing their Governors to put pressure on Congress for legislation that permanently ends all oil transportation by rail through the Pacific Northwest.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown is already lobbying lawmakers.

Gov. Kate Brown, D – Oregon: "I will continue to push the U.S. Department of Transportation and other federal authorities to take action that puts fewer Oregonians at risk of a dangerous crash in their backyards".

Washington’s Governor Jay Inslee has already spoken with Union Pacific and Burlington Northern leaders asking them to slow trains down, use electronic brakes and speed up the phase-out of older cars.

For Market to Market, I’m Paul Yeager.

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