Affiliated with: AFL-CIO
International Association of Fire Fighters
Washington State Labor Council
June 8, 2016
The Honorable Jay Inslee Washington State Governor
P.O. Box 40002 Olympia, WA 98504
Dear Governor Inslee:
Last Friday's oil train derailment and fire in Mosier, Oregon, is a stark reminder that first
responders, rail workers, communities, waterways and pristine lands remain in harm's way from
Bakken oil train traffic through our state.
The account given by firefighters of the Mosier response and by others who have responded to
similar incidents across North America make it clear these fires are exceedingly difficult to
extinguish, even under unusually ideal circumstances. What happened in Mosier could have just
as easily happened in a population center like Spokane or Seattle, resulting in even greater
You know our position on these matters. In June 2014, delegates at our statewide convention
called for an immediate halt to the movement of Bakken crude by rail until there has been a
determination that it is safe to transport. Clearly, given the Mosier incident, there has been no
The upcoming summer fire season is shaping up to be another dry and dangerous one. Resources
will be stretched thin, and evidence keeps growing that there is no safe way to transport Bakken
crude. A derailment and fire in dry wildfire fuels with high winds could easily overwhelm
available personnel and equipment in many parts of our state and grow into a conflagration of
We urge you to make a request similar to Oregon Governor Brown's by asking the U.S.
Department of Transportation to use its authority to prohibit rail transport of Bakken crude
through our state until there has been a full investigation into the cause of the Mosier oil train
In addition, please consider the use of your executive authority to reject plans for oil terminals
now under review and ask your legal staff to investigate the proclamation of a state of emergency
under RCW 43.06.220(l)(i), allowing you to prohibit the continued rail transportation of this
We appreciate the efforts you have made to date on this subject and stand ready to meet with
you, as do other members of our Solidarity Roundtable on Oil, to work toward solutions to this
on-going environmental and community crisis.
Dennis Lawson, President.
Washington State Council of Fire Fighters