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The Trump administration on Monday moved to block a Washington state law that imposed safety restrictions on oil shipments by rail in response to numerous explosive accidents.
Washington’s new law to establish safer standards on the highly flammable oil trains that pass regularly through Spokane – past hospitals, a high school, a freeway – is likely headed for a courtroom.
North Dakota officials are pressuring Washington’s governor to veto legislation requiring oil shipped by rail to have more of its volatile gases removed.
Trains carrying crude oil through Spokane and the rest of the state to Washington refineries would have to keep it under lower pressure under a bill supporters say will reduce the chance of catastrophic accidents.
Gov. Jay Inslee’s decision to reject a permit for a massive oil-by-rail terminal along the Columbia River was influenced by local residents’ worries about the potential for an oil train derailment in Spokane.
The Trump administration is angering environmental groups and residents of the Columbia River Gorge by rolling back a 2015 rule on oil train safety.
A major oil-by-rail terminal proposed on the Columbia River in Washington state poses a potential risk of oil spills, train accidents and longer emergency response times due to road traffic, an environmental study has found.
On the question of whether Spokane can – or should – fine the owners of rail cars transporting certain crude oil and coal through downtown, both sides say they’re on the right side of the law.
The group Safer Spokane has been hit with a complaint alleging yearlong violations of the state’s campaign finance disclosure laws for failing to file fiscal reports as required by law. The complaint was filed by a representative of the Spokane Home Builders Association, which has opposed the rail initiative.
The fact remains: Trains are the safest, most environmentally friendly and most cost-effective means of moving coal and oil.
Proposition 2 is about truth, justice and protecting our community. It’s about whether “We the People” control our own governance, or concede it to the money and power of the oil and coal corporations and their hired guns. Truth: Bakken crude oil that ships through Spokane is extremely volatile, up to 75 percent more explosive than gasoline. (If in doubt, Google “Bakken oil train explosions.”)
Spokane lawmakers are looking for 12 people to serve on committees that will draft statements supporting and opposing the two ballot questions scheduled to be decided on this year’s ballot. The deadline to submit the statements is Sept. 8.
Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich repeated his promise Thursday to seek a legal injunction if the measure on the November ballot passes, and said he’s in talks with railroads about joining him. Supporters are preparing for a vigorous campaign that has drawn interest beyond Spokane’s borders.
Spokane voters can expect a passionate political fight over a proposal to fine coal and oil trains passing through downtown after the City Council sent the question to the November ballot Monday night.
The “Raging Grannies” attempts to stop coal and oil trains through Spokane just got derailed again.
The Spokane County Elections Office confirmed Wednesday a measure proposing fines on certain coal and oil trains traveling through downtown had enough valid signatures to be put to voters in November. Opponents say the proposal faces a likely unsuccessful legal challenge that will cost an unknown amount of taxpayer dollars.
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Rice expressed skepticism Wednesday about the legal argument used by climate activists seeking to push a ban on coal and oil trains through downtown.
The city clerk’s office will review thousands of signatures on the two petitions, gathered in advance of the November ballot. Opponents of the proposal to fine coal and oil trains moving through downtown have hinted a legal challenge if the question makes it to Spokane voters.
When a freight train derailed in the Montana town of Culbertson, spilling 27,000 gallons of crude oil, investigators blamed the 2015 accident on defective or missing fasteners used to hold the tracks in place.
The Whatcom County Council has extended for six months a moratorium on shipments of unrefined fossil fuels out of the Cherry Point area.