Weekend closures, lane restrictions impact SR 99, I-5 and I-90

House passes bill to improve safety of oil movement in state

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Oil trains


OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The House has passed a bill aimed at improving safety as increasing numbers of oil trains move through the state.

The measure, which passed 60-38 Thursday night, requires advance notice of oil transfers, allows for the possibility of tug escorts for oil barges and requires railroads and others to show they can pay for oil spill cleanup.

The bill, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Jessyn Farrell of Seattle, is likely to meet resistance in the Senate. A competing bill sponsored by Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale is awaiting a floor vote. The Senate bill doesn’t include a public disclosure requirement as the House bill does. It also addresses only oil movement by rail, not on waters.

Both bills would collect a barrel tax when oil comes to the state by train to pay for oil spill response. The House bill also extends the tax to pipelines.

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1 Comment

  • Paul Wulterkens

    Current lack of enforcement ignores growing threats of Bakken oil
    explosions so extensive and toxic, fire chiefs have testified that
    “even if we had an infinite amount of foam,” the fires and toxic
    emissions would continue until all fuel had been exhausted, killing
    people and destroying wide swaths of land and riverbanks as they
    burned. Railroads are making secret decisions and hiding documents to
    such an extent, the federal Department of Transportation says it’s
    “impossible to know” to what extent railroads have prioritized or
    ignored safety in choosing routes. Railroads have also lobbied against
    federal regulatory efforts aimed at retrofitting tank cars for greater
    safety. Congress and the White House, Homeland Security and the FRA
    need to address the danger of Bakken oil explosions before disaster strikes.

    That’s why I signed a petition to Joseph C. Szabo, Administrator, Federal Railroad Administration, which says:

    “It’s time the Federal Railroad Administration enforces existing law
    requiring regulation to preserve health and safety in communities
    adjacent to railroad traffic, particularly in metropolitan areas.

    Will you sign the petition too? Click here to add your name: