Wednesday, August 31, 2016
The rulemaking process was initiated by the Oil Transportation Safety Act, sponsored by Rep. Jessyn Farrell (D-46th district) and signed into law by the governor in 2015. Rep. Jessyn Farrell released the following statement regarding the rule.
“The increase in oil being transported across Washington has led to an increase in the risk of oil train incidents that can have catastrophic consequences for humans and our natural resources. There have been derailments and spills all around the country, including the spill in Mosier, Oregon earlier this summer and the 2014 derailment of an oil train in Seattle.
“In 2015, I successfully advocated for legislation that takes steps to prepare and protect our communities and our natural resources in the face of the growing number of oil trains traveling through fragile ecosystems and densely populated urban areas.
“The bill I sponsored, House Bill 1449, directed the Washington State Department of Ecology to conduct rulemaking to give first responders and local governments notification about when oil trains will be traveling through their jurisdictions so that there could be a coordinated, prepared response ready in case of emergencies.
“I am pleased with the final rule announced today by the department. The rule provides information to prepare for the possibility of an oil train derailment without compromising security or proprietary business information. Every day that our state does not have strong rules about oil transportation in place is another day that we are putting our communities and our environment at risk. I commend the department for their speed in creating a rule that will help to keep us all safer.
“This rule is a good step towards safer oil transportation in our state, but there is still more to do. The number of oil trains in Washington is continuing to increase and I am committed to working with stakeholders on all sides of this issue to make sure that public safety is not compromised to profit oil companies.”