Letter to the Editor for Dec. 31

No new track

Finally the federal Railway Administration has released its report covered in today’s Hood River News. It’s so nice to know they’re going to increase inspections, yes the inspections that didn’t find the problems with the bolts that led to the derailment in the first place. Now the UP wants to increase its trackage in the Gorge so as to increase its oil and coal trains through the Gorge, not just on the Oregon side, but on the Washington side for Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

A quick look at the internet will show that Vancouver, Wash., had a derailment of a coal car today. On July 2, three coal cars spilled in or near Pasco, Wash., four butane cars tipped over in Yakima, Wash. on Sunday, listed by NBC, and on Dec. 23, an Amtrak train and a semi-truck collided on Highway 99E south of Portland, these have all happened recently.

This is playing Russian Roulette with the Columbia Gorge Scenic Area; it’s only a matter of time before there’s either a spill into the river on one side or the other, or someone deliberately causes a massive problem here in the Gorge.

Why haven’t we heard from our Congressional delegation about this, or for that matter, ODOT who supposedly inspects the tracks for the state, yes ODOT.

Where is the equipment and supplies for a hazmat response when something catastrophic actually happens? Is it in Hood River, The Dalles, Cascade Locks, or somewhere across the river? Why haven’t we heard from the Gorge Commission; do they have a responsibility for incidents in their area, or at least to speak out?

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

Editor’s note: The Gorge Commission issued a resolution in 2014 opposing coal and oil train traffic through the Scenic Area.

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