PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Oregon Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden have announced a new bill that would require a federal investigation into every railroad accident and clarify transportation officials’ moratorium power.
The Democrats’ proposal, introduced Wednesday, comes following last month’s fiery derailment of a Union Pacific oil train in Mosier, Oregon. The June 3 accident forced evacuations in the tiny town about 70 miles east of Portland and released 42,000 gallons of oil.
Federal transportation regulators declined to investigate that incident, citing limited staff and other reasons. Union Pacific has since resumed oil train operations despite Oregon and Washington officials’ asking for a moratorium.
The U.S. Department of Transportation also proposed new rules Wednesday that would require railroads draft response plans for large oil spills.