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.
There 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.