Sunday, October 26, 2014

Oil shipments across Washington could triple by 2020

Becky Kramer The Spokesman-Review     10/26/14
Nearly 3 billion gallons of crude oil will move through Washington on trains this year, and that figure could triple in five years.

Communities along the route and state regulators aren’t ready for the current volume of oil trains – about 19 per week, each about 100 tank cars – let alone the expected surge in oil traffic, according to a preliminary state report, which is the subject of a Tuesday hearing in Spokane.

Among the findings:

    • Sixty-two percent of local fire districts along oil train routes say their firefighters don’t have the necessary training or equipment to respond to tank-car derailments. Derailments caused a string of fiery explosions in the U.S. and Canada over the past 18 months, including the July 2013 accident that killed 47 people in Lac-Megantic, Quebec.

    • Nearly 3 million Washington residents live in cities on or near oil train routes.

    • The report recommends $13 million worth of actions to increase the state’s preparedness. The list includes hiring eight railroad inspectors; more money for the state’s oil spill response and prevention program; additional firefighting and spill containment equipment; and financial guarantees from oil shippers that they could cover cleanup costs and damages from a spill or derailment.

“The key to protecting the public and environment is the prevention of derailments and rail accidents in the first place,” the report said.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will use the 110-page report to develop a proposal to send to the Legislature next year..... read more here

For info about the public hearing on 10/30 in Olympia about this report , see here:

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