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Manage oil train risks

Reading the guest opinion on oil trains (“Oil terminal a dangerous plan,” Feb. 27), one would think that oil had never moved through Spokane in regular freight trains. Or other hazardous or explosive material. Since trains began passing through our city, how many have derailed downtown?

We are told the risk is too great just to profit an oil company, as if no one wants or benefits from the product; not drivers of vehicles and airplanes, farmers, businesses, industry or our national defense. Apparently, if you work around oil, you don’t have a real job. This from two politicians.

I used to think longshoremen were real men, but now they appear too wimpy to want to unload rail oil tankers. I wonder what the ships these guys load and unload are fueled with.

The opinion piece says oil trains will drive away businesses and jobs, although none are identified. Also not specified are all the jobs supposedly coming from stopping oil trains.

Do I think oil trains are a risk? Sure. But so are the tanker trucks containing various hazardous materials that routinely pass over Spokane on Interstate 90 or move on city streets. Some risks are necessary. We just need to manage the risk and keep it in the proper perspective, instead of succumbing to crass emotionalism and irrational utopianism.

Bob Hoff


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