Fiery Oil Train Derailment In Columbia Gorge Prompts Safety Legislation

Mar 14, 2017

One bill would give the state oversight of railroad’s oil spill planning and impose a fee on railroads to pay for spill preparation.

Another would require railroads to prove financial responsibility for oil train crashes. It would also prohibit the legislature from funding new oil or coal projects.

Raymond Estrada voiced support of the bills on behalf of the Celilo Indian Village, where he said homes are no more than 50 feet from passing trains.

“I hope that we don’t have to have a catastrophic event before we realize what the railroad is doing to us,” Estrada said.

Neighboring Washington and California have already passed similar rules meant to close gaps in oil train regulations.

Spokesmen for both Union Pacific Railroad and BNSF Railway have come out against the bills, saying they would violate federal law.

The railroads also made those arguments when California and Washington passed similar rules.

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