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Two Oregon bills aim to prevent mitigate oiltrain disaster

first_imgSALEM, Ore. — Native Americans, environmentalists and a fishing guide spoke out Monday in support of two bills that aim to prevent, or at least mitigate, an ecological disaster like an oil spill into the Columbia River.One bill would require railroads that own or operate high-hazard train routes to adopt oil-spill prevention and emergency-response planning, and ensure they carry adequate insurance to address a worst-case spill. The other bill would prohibit the Legislature from funding new bulk coal or oil terminals.Trains carrying oil travel through Oregon to destinations elsewhere, and among the shipments is the highly volatile crude from the Bakken Crude from North Dakota. It was that type of oil that was in a train that derailed and caused a fire near Mosier, Ore., on June 3 along the Columbia River, a key salmon habitat. The crash released oil alongside tracks that parallel the Columbia River.“Our tiny town was nearly wiped off the map,” Mosier Mayor Arlene Burns told the House Committee On Energy and Environment. She said that if the winds that normally sweep through the Columbia River Gorge had not been calm, a conflagration would have ensued.Those testifying said Oregon cannot prohibit oil trains from transiting the state, but should prepare for future accidents that they said are sure to come.last_img read more