Union Pacific resumes oil trains traffic through Columbia River Gorge, postpones hearing on rail expansion in Mosier
Mosier, OR: Union Pacific announced this morning (June 22) that it would resume transporting volatile Bakken crude oil through the Columbia River Gorge this week contrary to requests for a moratorium on oil trains by members of the Oregon congressional delegation, Governor Kate Brown of Oregon, and the Columbia River Gorge Commission. Elected officials have called on the Federal Railroad Administration to halt the transport of oil by rail through the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area until safety issues are properly identified and addressed.
(See the Gorge Commission’s letter to the Federal Railroad Administration.
“Union Pacific’s derailment in Mosier on June 3 demonstrated what the town of Mosier and many communities along the rail line have known for years,” said Kevin Gorman, Executive Director of Friends of the Columbia Gorge. “Oil-by-rail is fundamentally unsafe and a constant threat to Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and every community along the rail lines.”
Union Pacific also announced that it is postponing a public hearing on its proposed rail expansion around the town of Mosier from July 5 to Sept. 6. The proposed four miles of new double track would allow more oil trains to move at higher speeds through the Columbia River Gorge and the town of Mosier. The National Scenic Area permit application is under review by Wasco County. Friends provided detailed comments on the application, cited numerous violations of the National Scenic Area Act, and called for the project to be denied.
And to round out the day for Union Pacific, last night the railroad spilled up to 1,500 gallons of diesel fuel near Bridal Veil in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. According to Union Pacific, the spill was caused by a faulty fuel filter ring.
Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF)