Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is holding hearings on Oil Train Emergency Rulemaking on December 16th at 1pm via Zoom (Meeting ID: 898 5753 7633 with Passcode: 22685), where they will be taking comments on proposed new rules about oil train derailments and spills. Comments can also be made online prior to the meeting: They are also taking comments in advance.
Nationally, serious derailments in the last decade have resulted in spills and fires have claimed hundreds of lives, caused thousands to evacuate, and cost billions of dollars for clean-up–not to mention the damage to waterway ecosystems with spills of millions of gallons of oil. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we had our own derailment in 2016 in Mosier, Oregon. (It was only pure luck that kept it from being a truly massive ecological disaster.) And the local rapid expansion of dangerous tar sands oil trains by facilities such as Zenith Energy have made the Portland and Columbia Gorge situation even more precarious. (Articles on Zenith can be found on our resources page.)
Friends of the Columbia Gorge urges folks to join the public hearing and provide comments urging the DEQ to adopt strong rules that require:
- Oil spill contingency plans on all oil train routes;
- Sufficient planning and resources to clean up large spills of both light and heavy crude oil;
- Railroads and oil companies to bear the costs of oil spill response;
- Proof of financial responsibility by the railroads;
- Air monitoring to protect responders and the public; and
- Protection of fish and wildlife.