Department of Transportation predicts 10 oil train crashes a year for next two decades
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Local elected officials held a meeting Tuesday to discuss the growing danger of oil trains — they said, the issue involves a lot more than just explosive cargo.
The meeting came one month after a report by the U.S. Department of Transportation revealed a potential increase in the number of oil train derailments over the next two decades, which could cause more than $4 billion in damage and put people in densely populated areas at risk.
“The recent massive explosion, fire and oil spill in West Virginia is a stark reminder,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said.
Concern was the core subject at Tuesday’s meeting held just two weeks after the disaster in West Virginia, in which a 109 car oil train derailed and set off a fire that burned for almost a week.
Two days earlier, a similar incident happened in Canada.
“It’s only happened so far in relatively sparsely populated areas,” Mark Gamba from the Milwaukie City Council said. “Imagine it happening in downtown Portland or downtown Vancouver.”
The Department of Transportation analysis predicts trains carrying crude oil and ethanol will derail an average of 10 times a year for the next two decades.
Officials from places like Hood River, Milwaukie and Vancouver discussed concerns over old railroad tracks, that are stressed by the mile-long oil trains, and rail cars that aren’t built to handle the potential for disaster.
“What we need to do is work together to get our federal and state partners to take more seriously the need to prevent these problems in the first place,” Constantine said.... more here
Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:42 | Written by Steve Law, Portland Tribune
Portland and Multnomah County would adopt a firm position against coal and oil exports through their territories, under a draft revision of their joint Climate Action Plan. ....