Washington Legislature passes, sends governor oil train safety bill

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated.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.
Oil trains


OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Washington Legislature on Friday passed a measure to improve the safety of oil transportation due to a sharp increase in the number of oil-carrying freight trains in the state.

Lawmakers reached a compromise in the afternoon to resolve differences between competing versions that earlier cleared the Senate and House.

The Senate voted 46-0 and the House 95-1 on House bill 1449, which now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee for consideration.

The compromise includes some provisions that Inslee and Democrats had pushed for, including requiring railroads to show they can pay to clean up oil spills.

It extends a barrel tax on boat-transported oil to railroads to help pay for oil spill response, but doesn’t cover pipelines. It also does not include marine protections that environmental groups had sought for oil shipments via the Puget Sound.

The bill also requires railroads to provide weekly notice to first responders of the type and volume of oil shipped. That information will be made public on a quarterly basis.

Inslee issued a statement later Friday night in which he indicated he would sign the bill into law:

“Today, legislators did the right thing and approved a much-needed bill to improve the oversight of crude oil being transported through Washington and our ability to prevent and respond to oil spills. This was one of my top priorities for this session and I particularly want to thank Rep. Jessyn Farrell for all her work over the past months to shepherd this bill through with bipartisan support.

“This bill means our first responders will get advanced notification when oil trains are coming through, and it also expands the barrel tax on crude oil and petroleum products to include both rail and marine. This means that at a time when the number of oil trains running through Washington is skyrocketing, oil companies will be held accountable for playing a part in preventing and responding to spills.

“There are things this bill does not do, however. It does not increase the barrel tax rate which means we will have to continue relying on other sources of funding that are already stretched thin. In addition, the final bill does not include provisions that would allow us to continue strengthening our marine response capabilities in Puget Sound.

“This is a solid first step, but clearly we have more work to do. And while our state does its part to bolster safe transport of crude oil by rail and boat, I urge Congress and the federal government to push for quick action on reduced speed limits and prohibition of outdated oil train cars.”


Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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


  • Paul Wulterkens

    Of course the bill doesn’t solve all the problems. But it will make oil trains safer. Coming out of a divided legislature, it shows other states that compromise is possible. Congratulations, Washington State!
    Since the trains are federally regulated, we must look next to the Federal Railroad Administration to enforce railroad health and safety rules. Let them hear that slower speeds, more and better inspections, better brakes, and two person crews, already voluntarily implemented by some railroads, need to be enforced across the country. Sign the petition at http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/enforce-railroad-health?source=s.fwd&r_by=1718159

  • AbigailDBerg

    >>>my roomate’s sister-in-law makes $79 every hour on the computer>>>> . She has been out of work for ten months but last month her paycheck was $12877 just working on the computer for a few hours. pop over here Read More

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.