Council Approves Resolution On Oil Trains Passing Through Spokan - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Council Approves Resolution On Oil Trains Passing Through Spokane

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SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane City Council passed a resolution Monday night they say is aimed to protect the well-being of citizens and the drinking water supply and natural resources from the potential impact of increased oil train traffic passing through Spokane. 

The resolution is in response to recent devastating train derailments in Quebec, North Dakota and Connecticut. A train derailment in Spokane from back in 1991 was also referenced many times during Monday night's meeting. 

The resolution will request that the potential impacts to Spokane's public safety, environment, economy, and traffic be studied by the agencies conducting all environment reviews and also requests that Spokane be included in any environmental impact statements regarding any project that may cause increase in associated oil rail traffic traveling via Spokane. 

It also supports the creation of Federal guidelines for tracking the chemical composition of the fuels traveling through Spokane so that local first responders, government and citizens can understand and plan for the risks associated with whatever is traveling through town. 

The resolution passed Monday night also calls for the Federal Government to immediately implement safety regulations concerning older tank cars and speeds. 

Following the passing of the resolution, Mayor David Condon released a statement about the oil trains: 

“The safety of Spokane is my top priority. It is our responsibility to understand the risks and potential impacts associated with crude oil rail shipments so that we can plan accordingly. A collaborative, informed approach will yield the best results for our community.

We as a community must urge the appropriate federal agencies, the nation’s tank car owners and manufacturers, crude oil shippers, and freight railroads to adopt fleet standards for cargo movements.

I have taken several initial steps to better coordinate emergency planning and response in our community. Earlier this month, while in Washington, D.C., I had discussions with our federal Congressional staff. Ed Lewis, the new deputy director of emergency management for Spokane County, will join my Cabinet as a liaison to facilitate better emergency planning. I have also requested a briefing for the public safety committee of the City Council, to share information, identify any gaps and discuss potential next steps. And, later this week, I will be meeting with the federal Government Accountability Office to discuss freight traffic through our community.”

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