LIVE: Gov. Inslee gives update on Washington’s response to COVID-19 at 2pm
COVID-19 in Washington: Links and resources to help you during coronavirus pandemic

Activists record number of oil trains moving through Snohomish County

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Bp0XAv5CEAA55-EEVERETT — Volunteers in Snohomish County are trying to persuade government leaders to take a stand against potentially dangerous oil trains.

When an oil train derailed and exploded in a Québec town last year, it killed dozens of people. In North Dakota, a massive fireball lit up the sky when two trains collided.

“There have been nine incidents in the last year of oil train derailments and explosions in North America,” activist Dean Smith said Tuesday. “At the rate oil train traffic is increasing, I think it’s a concern for Everett.”

That’s why Smith organized a weeklong train count in Everett. Thirty volunteers sat near the tracks on either side of the city, and counted how many oil trains went by.

“We had been led to expect that we might be seeing nine a week,” he said.

But there were 16, and that was with volunteers only manning the tracks 50 percent of the time.  On Tuesday night, Smith shared his findings at a public meeting. Darrel McLaughlin attended, because he’s concerned about what could happen if there was an accident in Washington.

“I’d rather see coal being transported than an explosive material that’s in a rail car that’s as old as I am,” he said.

The spokesman for Burlington Northern Santa Fe, which operates the tracks in Washington, said he couldn’t comment on the number of oil trains running through Everett for security reasons. But he did say safety is the company’s primary concern.

“We are working with federal regulators and the shippers,” said Gus Melonas.  “We are taking it very seriously, and there are going to be changes made in the marketplace overall.”

That’s not enough for Smith, who would like to see a moratorium on oil trains until they are made safer.

He has sent a report of his findings to officials with the city of Everett. He said he’d like them to take up the issue and come up with an evacuation plan, in case there ever is a derailment here in town. But he said he hasn’t gotten a response from them yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.