Feds to brief Local and State Oregon Officials

Repost from The Statesman Journal, Salem, Oregon

Crude oil train safety: Oregon leaders to get briefing

 Tracy Loew, Statesman Journal   |  April 26, 2014

State and local government officials will get a briefing on crude oil transport safety next week.

Gov. John Kitzhaber requested the meeting, which will lay out current practices and identify additional steps that may be taken to ensure that trains traveling in Oregon are operating as safely as possible.

Last year, 19,065 tank cars of oil moved along Oregon’s railroads, up from just 659 in 2007. Some of those trains run through the Willamette Valley, including Salem.

Shipments are expected to increase, boosting the risk of oil spills or explosions.

Much of the oil comes from the Bakken field in North Dakota, and is more flammable than traditional crude.

Nationwide, critics are calling for safer tank cars and better emergency planning.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said today he will propose a comprehensive package of rules next week to deal with oil trains.

Among the presenters at Tuesday’s briefing will be representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Coast Guard; and the Oregon State Fire Marshal, Department of Transportation Rail Division, Department of Environmental Quality, Office of Emergency Management and Governor’s Office; as well as Union Pacific, BNSF and Genesee & Wyoming railroads.

The meeting is not open to the public.