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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane Riverkeeper challenges new oil train rules

Associated Press
A coalition of environmental groups, including the Spokane Riverkeeper, has filed a court challenge to new federal rules aimed at preventing accidents involving trains carrying oil and other flammable fuels. The groups argue federal officials gave companies too much time to phase out railroad tank cars known to rupture during derailments. It also says the government has backtracked on earlier requirements for railroads to notify state officials about oil shipments. “We feel the rules are too weak to provide any meaningful protection for the communities in the Spokane area, the Spokane River, or the Spokane Valley-Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer from the increasing oil by rail traffic,” said Jerry White, the Spokane Riverkeeper. A petition to set aside portions of the rules was filed Thursday with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by Earthjustice, representing the Sierra Club and other groups. The oil industry and two Illinois municipalities also have challenged the federal rules put in place on May 1. Oil trains have been involved in a string of recent accidents across the U.S.
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