Washington Responders to Get Notice of Oil Train Shipments

August 31, 2016

Emergency responders in communities along oil train routes in Washington state will start receiving advance notice of the shipments this fall.

The Spokesman-Review reports that terminals, refineries and other facilities that receive crude oil by rail must begin notifying the state Department of Ecology in advance of shipments under a new rule adopted this week. The state will relay the information to local emergency responders.

Gov. Jay Insless says that following recent oil train disasters, the state is trying to improve public safety and protect the environment.

Typically, two or three oil trains per day transport volatile crude from the Bakken oil fields through Spokane and Spokane Valley en route to Western Washington. A consultant warned state officials last month that a derailment or fire in downtown Spokane would pose severe challenges for responders, including the possibility of train cars falling from elevated tracks onto buildings.

The rule is Washington’s first reporting requirement for oil shipments.

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