Gov. Jay Inslee called for a moratorium on oil trains traveling through Washington on Friday afternoon.
Inslee’s call for curtailing Bakken oil traveling through the state comes after an oil train derailed in the Columbia River Gorge earlier this month. Oregon’s Gov. Kate Brown has also called for a moratorium.
Inslee told federal authorities on Friday that current safety regulations are not adequate.
“I’m not interested in symbolic measures,” Inslee said in a statement. “It is unclear at this point whether the FRA (Federal Rail Authority) has the authority to order a stop to unsafe oil train transport, but they committed to looking into what they can do and will revisit what can be done to halt UP’s (Union Pacific) Bakken oil train transport until necessary safety improvements are made.”
The train that derailed near Mosier, Oregon, was bound for Tacoma. Several tank cars caught fire and leaked oil.
In the past couple of years, the number of oil “unit trains” traveling through both states has increased dramatically. Many more trains would be likely to travel through the Gorge if Vancouver Energy’s plans to build the nation’s largest oil terminal here are approved.
In Oregon and Washington, safety inspectors partner with the federal government to inspect the rails.
The Union Pacific tracks had been inspected shortly before the derailment and no problems were identified. However, accident investigators believe a track problem caused the derailment.
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