Do you live in a “Bomb Train” blast zone? - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Do you live in a “Bomb Train” blast zone?

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  • Oil Trains & Coal Trains in Spokane

    Oil Trains & Coal Trains in Spokane

    Read the latest news about about oil trains, coal  trains; oil and coal exports that are transported via train through in Spokane, Washington and the Pacific Northwest.

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    Read the latest news about about oil trains, coal  trains; oil and coal exports that are transported via train through in Spokane, Washington and the Pacific Northwest.

    >>
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Tuesday afternoon, the Washington Department of Ecology held a public hearing in Spokane to take your comments on a new safety requirement for oil shipments by rail.  Under Chapter 173-186 WAC, Oil Spill Contingency Plan – Railroad, companies transporting oil into or through Washington would have to submit their spill response plans for state approval.

Spokane's first responders worry the loss of life and property in the event of a major spill or derailment would be nothing short of catastrophic.

In hopes of heading off such a disaster, the state has upped the requirements for emergency planning.

The DOE is requiring all railroads to create oil spill plans that will ensure that first responders are aware of locations of oil transport, oil response equipment, and trained to respond in a rapid, aggressive, and well coordinated manner.

The risk of catastrophic spills or derailments loom large for the Inland Northwest. According to a recent WA DOE study, 16 Burlington Northern Santa Fe trains carrying highly volatile Bakken oil pass through Spokane County each week. The USDOT's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has determined that Bakken crude "has a higher gas content, higher vapor pressure, lower flash point and boiling point and thus a higher degree of volatility than most other crudes in the U.S., which correlates to increased ignitability and flammability." - Operation Classification/Operation Safe Delivery Report, 7-23-14.  As demand increases, it's not a question of 'if' there will be a major rail accident, but 'when': A study last year that looked at the impact of a new oil terminal proposal in Vancouver, Wash., indicated the likelihood of a derailment in Washington every other year.  

To understand just how many of us are threatened by one of these so-called 'bomb trains,' ForestEthics, an environmental group, used industry data and reports from citizens who live near oil train routes to map out how many people are at risk from oil trains in case of a spill or derailment. Click the link and enter your address in the box, to see if you live or work in  a US DOT Evacuation Zone for Oil Train Derailments, or a US DOT Potential Impact Zone in Case of Oil Train Fire.

To see if you live in a blast zone, CLICK HERE

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