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Oil, Tracks, Railcars Get A Scrubbing in Cantwell’s Bill

Politicians from the local, state, and federal level are bracing for potentially negative effects of more oil train shipments rolling through our community. Tuesday, US Senator Maria Cantwell spoke in Spokane about her Crude-By-Rail Safety Act, which she introduced in D.C last week.

The safety act would do three things: require monitoring on the volatility of oil carried in tank cars to reduce explosions, would prohibit old tank cars from carrying crude, and require more frequent inspection and maintenance of rail lines. Cantwell says there have been four crude oil derailments in north America since February.

Cantwell: “And my legislation would protect cities like Spokane from the types of fiery derailments that we’ve seen in places like north Dakota, Illinois, and West Virginia.”

Cantwell’s measure is co-sponsored by Democratic Senators Patty Murray, Diane Feinstein of California, and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin.

While its support in Congress isn’t definite yet, Spokane’s mayor and City Council are applauding the measure. Council President Ben Stuckart is introducing a resolution this week to support the Senate bill and add it to their priorities list for the state legislature.

On average, two full trains carrying oil travel through Spokane daily.

Copyright 2015 Spokane Public Radio