Wyden: Won’t allow Oregon to have ‘unsafe tracks’

Oregon's senior senator was in Mosier on Sunday

A train derailed in Mosier along I-84 in the Columbia River Gorge, June 3, 2016 (Courtesy: Silas Bleakley)
A train derailed in Mosier along I-84 in the Columbia River Gorge, June 3, 2016 (Courtesy: Silas Bleakley)

MOSIER, Ore. (KOIN) — Saying he won’t allow Oregonians to be tied to unsafe railroad track, Sen. Ron Wyden on Sunday said Mosier has set the gold standard for resilience.

Oregon’s senior senator was in Mosier just 10 days after 16 cars of a 96-car oil train derailed. Four caught on fire, thousands of gallons of crude oil spilled, smoke billowed into the sky, hundreds of people were evacuated, school was cancelled and drinking water was affected.

“Mosier has set the gold standard for resilience in the face of catastrophe,” Wyden said at a meeting that included Mosier firefighters.

Mosier Mayor Arlene Burns is among those calling for a moratorium and wants to block plans for a second track. Mosier’s fire chief wants the oil trains to stop altogether.

“On a state level we call for Governor Kate Brown, who’s been in support of Mosier, to not let any Oregon land, water resources, wetlands to be used in support of this transport of fossil fuels through our area,” Burns said Friday.

Wyden seemed to signal his support.

“I am not going to allow Oregonians to be tied to unsafe tracks,” he said.

Wyden said he plans to introduce legislation to the US Senate that would put a fee on the rail cars that pose the biggest risk and use that money to help first responders.

The senator said he has the support of at least 11 of his colleagues on his bill, SB-1175.

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