Tag Archives: Mosier oil by rail fire

Oregon Introduced Legislation Protecting Communities Against Oil-By-Rail Spills

By Roy L Hales

Though both Washington and California call for rail companies to submit oil spill contingency plans, this is not yet a requirement in Oregon. Legislation was introduced in 2015, but the railway industry successfully lobbied against it. This could be changing. On Tuesday January 3, 2016,  Oregon introduced legislation protecting communities against oil-by-rail spills.

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Halt Pacific Northwest Oil Trains

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PMThe oil train you see above may be one of the last to pass through Hood River, Oregon.  Three weeks ago a near catastrophic derailment/fire occurred in the neighbouring town of Mosier. The town is still  dealing with the aftereffects. Thursday the Federal Rail Authority’s (FRA) Preliminary report blamed the incident on Union Pacific’s failure to maintain their tracks.  Now the  Governors of Washington and Oregon are calling upon the FRA to halt Pacific Northwest oil trains.
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Maintenance Failure Caused Mosier Derailment

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PMThree weeks have passed since the oil train derailment at Mosier, on the Oregon side of the Columbia River. The giant Baker tanks, used to store raw sewage, have been removed from downtown. In an audio posted to the town’s website, Mayor Arlene Burns proclaims that the city is once again open for business. But according to Kristen McNall, a volunteer with Mosier Fire, they are still dealing with the accident’s repercussions. Today a preliminary Federal Railway Administration report confirmed that a maintenance failure caused the Mosier derailment

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Transportation Officer Calls For Oil Train Moratorium

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PMThe lag bolts whose failure caused the recent oil-by-rail accident at Mosier were “relatively new.” According to Hal Gard, Administrator of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Rail and Public Transit Division, “new rail was installed at this location in 2013.” In a newly surfaced email to the Federal Rail Administrator for Region 8, this Oregon transportation Officer calls for an oil train moratorium.

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Near Catastrophe Galvanizes Opposition To Oil By Rail

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1More details have emerged in the eight days since a 96-car Union Pacific train, carrying crude oil, derailed at Mosier, Oregon. A railway spokesman announced that the probable cause of this accident was that the lag bolts failed in a number of consecutive rail ties. Though four cars ruptured, only one actually caught fire. Local firefighters battled throughout the night and finally succeeded in suppressing the fire in the early hours of the next day. Mosier’s sewage treatment plant was damaged and is still inoperable but, thanks to the assistance of the neighbouring town of Hood River, all but two of Mosier’s homes once again have water and sewage.  The surrounding communities demonstrated how this near catastrophe galvanizes opposition to oil by rail at two press events this week.

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Climate Kids Are Suing America

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1The United States has known that burning fossil fuels destabilizes our climate for over fifty years, but taken few steps to prevent this. Even now, 18 months after President Obama declared “No challenge  poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change,” the nation does not appear to be ready to switch away from a fossil fuel based energy system. According to Our Children’s Trust, this is discriminating against the rights of the very generations who will experience the worst effects of Climate change. So 21 Climate Kids are suing America.

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Mosier Objects To Restarting Rail Traffic

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1Mosier’s sewer system was still turned off this morning. Some of the derailed oil cars still sit beside the tracks, where the town’s fifteen volunteer fire fighters fought to contain the fire throughout Friday and into the night. The town’s acquirers were depleted during the battle. Now Union Pacific wants to resume normal operations but, until they can explain the cause of the accident, Mosier Objects To Restarting Rail Traffic.

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Mosier Was Lucky, No One Was Killed

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1The flames have been put out and a tweet from the Washington’s Department of Ecology says the air quality is good.  Four railway cars, carrying approximately 120,000 gallons of oil, ruptured in yesterday’s incident. No one knows how much oil spilled out, or made its’ way into the Columbia River. (As you can see in the photo above, there was a sheen on the Oregon shore this morning.) No one can flush their toilets, or drink the water, because the town’s sewer plant was directly affected. A local resident said Mosier was Lucky, no one was killed.

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Another Oil-By-Rail Fire Near Portland

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1There are currently only one or two trains going through the Columbia River Gorge every day. Imagine what would happen if all the fossil fuel projects in this region were approved. Up to a hundred trains, averaging between a mile and a mile and a half in length, and would make this same trek weekly. Six months ago, a truck driver was killed in a railway accident within Portland’s city limits. The flames spread to eight railway cars, carrying oil or asphalt, which luckily did not catch fire. There was another oil-by-rail fire near Portland today.

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