‘Public safety must be our top priority’ says lawmaker as rail transports increase through Spokane County
OLYMPIA…State Sen. Doug Ericksen, chair of the Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee, plans a work session Tuesday on proposed oil-by-train safety measures under consideration by the state Legislature. The work session is open to the public and members of the Joint Transportation Committee and Rail Caucus will be on hand to ask questions and to hear comments and concerns from residents of the greater Spokane community:
|Spokane City Council Chambers808 W. Spokane Falls BlvdSpokane||June 17, 2014 TUESDAY||10:30 a.m.|
“This is a top safety issue and it’s also about energy independence,” Ericksen, R-Ferndale, said, “As we transition our oil imports from the Middle East to domestic sources, we need to take quick action on oil transport safety. We have the best marine oil transport safety system in the world and now we need to apply those same safety standards to oil-by-rail tankers.”
The focus of the work session and public hearing will be on Senate Bill 6582. The measure, sponsored by Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, directs the State Department of Ecology (DOE) to study current safety measures, provide grants and resources to emergency responders and requires reporting on mode and type of oil being transported through Washington.
According to the DOE, rail shipments of oil are expected to triple in 2014 to 55 million barrels, up from 17 million in 2013. Washington is now the number one provider of refined oil products to Oregon with more growth expected as shipments of Bakken crude oil increase from North Dakota.
“For the first time in generations energy independence is within reach. The energy revolution we are currently experiencing is providing great opportunities,” Ericksen said, “While we’re putting pressure on Congress to address federal safety issues, we need to take proper actions on a state level to keep our communities safe.”
SB 6582 Safety of the Transport of Liquid Bulk Crude Oil:
- Bakken crude oil – technical specifications, classification, concerns and issues with storage and transporting;
- Railroad safety of transport of oil.