Oil train bill sent back over railroad concessions

Environmental groups, Columbia Gorge residents criticized bill

Scattered and burned oil tank cars, Saturday, June 4, 2016, after the train derailed and burned near Mosier, Ore., Friday. (Washington Department of Ecology via AP)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Lawmakers sent legislation requiring railroads to develop safety plans for oil spills back to a legislative committee because of concerns about concessions to the rail industry.

Lawmakers were prepared to vote Friday on the bill by Rep. Barbara Smith Warner, a Democrat from Portland.

It was crafted to address safety concerns after an oil train went off the tracks in the Columbia Gorge town of Mosier last June, sparking a large fire.

But Smith Warner made a motion to send the bill back to the Joint Ways and Means Committee.

The bill drew criticism from environmental groups and Columbia Gorge residents because it kept railroad safety plans secret from the public.

It also didn’t require railroads to prove they had the financial ability to respond to an oil spill.