Oil trains in Oregon – They affect everyone who visits Portland or anywhere along the Gorge or lower Columbia River
As many readers of this webpaper as well as the Oregonian are aware, state officials and residents alike have been grappling with the huge increase in the number of railroad oil tanker cars that have been traveling through Oregon. Of particular concern have been hundreds, if not thousands, of oil cars each traversing the Columbia River Gorge as they make their way between the oil fields of North Dakota and the giant export sea terminals in Oregon and Washington.
The story has been reported largely piecemeal as reporters at both ends of the tracks and from various perspectives try to make sense out of what many call “Bomb Trains” rumbling through big towns and small throughout the country, some derailments killing many people and destroying millions of dollars in property. Yet government regulators have allowed the trains to proceed pretty much with what they’ve been doing.
The Oregonian has been leading the charge to learn more about this issue, trying to force state agencies like ODOT to divulge information on the number of trains, how often they run, and how much North Dakota Bakken oil is moving to market. Another concern is that Bakken crude oil is far more flammable than standard thick crude and does ignite and explode more similar to gasoline than thick sludgy oil.
The Oregonian gives us an update on the issue as they’ve learned about it, including a rather disturbing news video from a national perspective. Click here.