Farrell’s Oil Transportation Safety Act passes legislature

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Rep. Jessyn Farrell, D-46
Friday the Oil Transportation Safety Act cleared its last legislative hurdle when HB 1449, sponsored by Rep. Jessyn Farrell, was voted out of the House with a 95-1 vote. The bill requires advance notice of oil train shipments so that emergency responders can be prepared in the case of an accident. The bill also funds safety and planning measures by subjecting oil train shipments to the barrel tax, currently only paid for oil that arrives on ships.
“After two years of working with stakeholder groups, Governor Inslee, and members of both parties, I am pleased that we were able to come to an agreement and pass this bill,” said Rep. Farrell, D-Seattle. “We all want to protect our communities and this bipartisan agreement makes meaningful advances towards protecting the health and safety of our families, first responders, waterways, and natural landscapes.” 
“Although this bill begins to address the urgent need for more safety surrounding oil transportation in our state, it is only a first step,” continued Farrell. “As the oil transportation industry shifts, we need to stay ahead of the changes while still working to ensure our marine safety program remains successful.” 
King County Executive Dow Constantine, who is also Chair of the Safe Energy Leadership Alliance, said,
“Today’s vote demonstrates that protecting our communities from devastating oil-train explosions and spills has strong bipartisan support.”  “By standing together across city, county, state, and national borders, we are able to speak with a unified voice when we call upon federal regulators and oil companies to take immediate action to prevent the type of disasters we've seen across North America.” 

The last few years have seen a sharp increase in the amount of crude oil carried through Washington on trains. The increase in crude oil shipments creates significant risks to the region’s people, economy, and environment. A study by the U.S. Department of Transportation released in February predicts that oil train derailments will occur 10 times a year over the next two decades, cause more than $4 billion in damages, and put densely populated areas at risk. Since mid-February of this year, there has been a rash of oil train derailments, including one in West Virginia which forced hundreds of families out of their homes, sparked massive fires and leaked oil into a nearby river. 

The Oil Transportation Safety Act now goes to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

Rep. Farrell represents the 46th legislative district, which includes Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, and northeast Seattle.


Anonymous,  April 26, 2015 at 10:40 AM  

Oil by rail has increased because of increased production in the US northern states and a real lack of pipelines to safely transport the oil to terminals. So, that oil will go somewhere and rail is the best way, for now, until pipelines are built.

Choke off the ability to supply the needed oil to industry (by rail, truck or pipeline) and it will have a LONG TERM effect on our economy. Countries with real money, like China, will buy it, whether from us or when routed through Canada to be sent away through Canadian ports.

That barrel tax that Farrell addresses in her bill? Guess who pays for that in the end . . . Econ 101 my dear Representative.

Anonymous,  April 27, 2015 at 8:57 AM  

Apparently concerned about wheat spills, Senator Maralyn Chase voted nay until exemption for non-oil trains was removed. Never give a taxpayer an even break.

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