coal trains

A new proposed ballot initiative in Spokane, Washington, could prohibit coal and oil companies from transporting their products through the city by rail. It comes after the city council rolled back a similar effort last month.

This time around, the proposal targets the owners of the rail cars and not the railroad companies tasked with transporting them.

Two weeks ago, the Spokane City Council approved a ballot measure that garnered national attention. It would impose a fine on every rail car that transports coal or oil through the heart of the city.  Monday the council could consider its withdrawal.

Courtney Flatt

More than 100 people showed up today  in Pasco to a final public hearing for a proposed coal export terminal. And most of them supported it.  

David Gillihan works at Millennium Bulk Terminals. He echoed one of the main reasons people voiced support of the terminal: jobs.

“All of you with your lofty ideals, those who oppose us, deny us the opportunity to make a good living doing what we want,” Gillihan said.

Northwest Officials Unite Against Coal And Oil Trains

Mar 4, 2015
U.S. Department of Transportation

More than 150 elected officials from across the Northwest have teamed up to speak out against coal and oil trains. Their new group, the Safe Energy Leadership Alliance, held its third meeting in Portland Tuesday.

Washington’s King County Executive Dow Constantine has stepped up to chair the group. It includes officials from Oregon, Washington, Idaho and British Columbia.

Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio

The Washington department of Ecology has completed a draft report to the legislature outlining safety recommendations to deal with increased oil train traffic in the state.

The Ecology department worked with the Utilities and Transportation Commission and the state’s Emergency Management Division to prepare the draft report on improving public safety. Lisa Copeland is a spokeswoman for Ecology.