Oregon Report Identifies Gaps In Oil Train Safety

Jul 28, 2014

Several mile-long oil trains cross through the state of Oregon every week carrying volatile oil from North Dakota's Bakken oil fields. A new report released today Friday identifies gaps in Oregon's ability to handle the safety risks. For EarthFix, Cassandra Profita reports.

Reports show three oil trains a week pass through Oregon on the way to the Global Pacific oil terminal near Clatskanie, and additional oil trains pass through central and southern Oregon on their way to California once a week.
Credit Tony Schick / EarthFix

After several oil train crashes in the U.S. and Canada. Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber requested the report.

It concludes that the state needs to hire more rail safety inspectors and pay them more money. It found the state doesn't know exactly when oil trains are passing through or what equipment is available to respond to a crash.

Kitzhaber says the state could use more training for emergency responders.

Kitzhaber: "Even if we have trained our first responders we don't have a good idea of what's in those trains on a timely basis and we don't have a good inventory of equipment that's already cached or crews that are on hire if we were to have a response."

The governor recommends a state fee on oil trains to pay for more rail inspectors and more training.

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