Spokane City Council Nixes Proposed Oil And Coal Train Ballot Measure
By Emily Schwing, Northwest News Network | Aug. 16, 2016 4:45 p.m., updated 6:56 p.m.
A measure that was added to the November ballot less than a month ago would have imposed fines on rail cars transporting fossil fuels through the heart of Spokane. On Monday night, the city council opted to withdraw it.
Council President Ben Stuckart said weeks of further review raised questions about whether the measure he co-sponsored could stand, were it to face a legal challenge.
“I don’t think that’s a good use of the citizen’s dollars,” he said.
In the weeks since the measure originally passed, Stuckart said a conversation about how to more safely transport fossil fuels has become a region-wide.
“A couple other cities have contacted us and they’ve suggested that we form a regional group here in Northern Idaho and Eastern Washington to try to work through these issues and see how we can affect state and national policy,” Stuckart said.
The measure itself was prompted by a number of accidents involving oil trains since 2012. In June, a train carrying crude oil from North Dakota derailed in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge.
On a near-daily basis, oil trains pass through the heart of Spokane past two major hospitals, a handful of schools and across an aquifer that serves nearly half a million people.
Repost from The Columbian [Editor: Check out the Resolution to be considered by the Spokane City Council on Monday, July 25 (from the Council agenda). The resolution begins: “A Resolution requesting that the Spokane County Auditor to hold a special election on November 8, 2016 in conjunction with the scheduled general election to submit to the electors of the City of Spokane a proposition regarding the enactment of a new section 10.08.068 of the Spokane Municipal Code, relating to a prohibition on the transit of oil and coal trains through specific areas of the City of Spokane.” A series of powerful WHEREASES follow. – RS]
Spokane may fine railroads shipping oil or coal through town
July 21, 2016, 6:01 AM
SPOKANE – The Spokane City Council is thinking of fining railroad companies that ship crude oil or coal through downtown Spokane.
The companies would be fined hundreds of dollars for each train car under a law the city council will consider placing on the November ballot.
The Spokesman-Review says the proposed law would make such shipments a civil infraction punishable by a fine of up to $261 for each train car.
The City Council will vote Monday on whether to add a law that would authorize fines for oil and coal train operators to the November ballot.