The U.S. Department of Transportation proposed a comprehensive set of rules Wednesday in response to fiery crashes involving trains carrying crude oil from the Bakken region of North Dakota.
The rules would phase out use of an older, flawed type of rail tank car over the next two years. They also require slower speeds, better brakes and more carefully planned routes for trains carrying flammable materials.
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden said the rules are a good start but still don’t do enough to provide information to emergency responders in cities along rail lines.
“Communities like Baker City and Bend and Eugene could really be in the dark, still,” Wyden said. “And that’s unacceptable to me.”
Northwest city officials and environmental groups, meanwhile, have each asked for swifter action than the new rules offer.
City council members from Seattle asked the transportation department for a ban on Bakken oil shipments in older tank cars.
Labor unions and the rail industry supported the proposed rules, especially the new tank car requirements. Each has expressed a desire for more information on how the rules might affect commerce.
Copyright 2014 Oregon Public Broadcasting