Oil train safety becomes hot new topic in Olympia

The fight over coal trains, billed as the Pacific Northwest’s biggest environment debate in decades (and one that has been passionately discussed in Edmonds due to its proximity to the railroad tracks), has been replaced by a new hot topic — oil transportation, our online news partner The Seattle Times reports.

Fueled by statistics showing that more oil spilled in the United States last year than in the 37 previous years combined — along with recent oil-train explosions — state lawmakers from both parties and chambers are pushing for quick action, The Times said.

“I think we all agree that this is an important issue for us to address to protect our citizens,” said state Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, who chairs the Energy, Environment & Telecommunications Committee.

You can read the complete Seattle Times story here.

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2 Comments

  1. I have always believed coal trains are a non-issue. I have been photographing trains in Edmonds for the past 5-6 years and have yet to see an accumulation of coal dust along the tracks, on the Amtrak station, or on the houses bordering Sunset Ave., even during long periods with no rain.

    Derailment of a coal train is no worse than that of an ordinary freight train. Coal can be easily scooped up and removed. Oil trains are an entirely different matter. The deadly results of an oil train derailment and subsequent explosions have been documented all too well.

  2. In regards to coal dust, you need to look at the top of the Ford building at Harbor Square and other light roof top buildings, and speak with people with respiratory or high allergy problems. They now have more coughs since so many trains go by every day. You can clearly see the dust. My home is right around the block from Sunset, and we see that the cement patio behind our studio is much blacker than before

    You are correct in regards to the Bakken oil. This would turn into a major environmental catastrophe if one of those trains derailed here at Edmonds and I’m assuming one will with all the development induced mudslides. Between Seattle and Everett according to the transportation safety management board, a safety alert was put out three weeks ago in regards to the dangerous the rail/hill area between Seattle and Everett. I saw the map and this whole area is in red because of slides and the danger. We live right here, so we are more than a little nervous about those development bulldozers tearing into unstable soil all along Sunset. This is easy to see. ***I guess I’d like to see some CERTIFIED soil tests there before these guys start digging here.

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