Photo by Ben Mitchell
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown speaks at a press conference regarding the fiery Mosier train derailment Friday night.
Some of Oregon’s highest elected officials have called for a moratorium on oil traffic through the Columbia River Gorge in the wake of Friday’s derailment of a Union Pacific oil train in Mosier.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, and Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici made the following statement today:
“Oil train tankers are still lying on their sides in Mosier, the ground and water have yet to be cleaned up, and there’s still no good explanation for the cause of Friday’s crash. It is too soon to resume oil train traffic through the Columbia River Gorge.
Union Pacific should not resume oil train traffic before meeting with the community of Mosier and giving a thorough explanation for the cause of this accident and an assurance that the company is taking the necessary steps to prevent another one.
A train full of toxic crude oil derailing, burning, and exploding near homes, schools, and businesses is a worst fear realized for people who live in Mosier and in other communities along the tracks throughout the Gorge.
They deserve to know that the causes of this derailment have been both identified and fixed, and there should be a moratorium on oil train traffic until they get those explanations and assurances.
We will also be pushing for the Department of Transportation to take a hard look at alternative routes for oil and hazardous material trains that would put fewer Oregonians at risk of a dangerous crash in their backyards.”
Union Pacific began moving trains through Mosier last evening, despite an outcry from environmental groups and Mosier elected officials.
The City of Mosier passed a motion at an emergency meeting Sunday afternoon asking Union Pacific to remove all oil from the derailed cars before reopening the tracks and moving trains through.
“The City of Mosier strongly objects to Union Pacific’s plans to restart running trains, including oil trains, as early as tonight through the derailment site where damaged oil tankers continue to sit feet from newly laid railroad track,” said Arlene Burns, mayor of Mosier, in a statement.
Mosier is in recovery mode, with the evacuation order lifted but its schools are closed for the week, and environmental crews are cleaning up oil spilled from derailed tankers.
The city’s wastewater treatment plant was shut down. Today, the city has been trucking sewage from Mosier into Hood River for treatment at the Hood River Wastewater Treatment Plant on the Hood River Waterfront.
A boiled water notice was still in effect this morning for Mosier residents.
More information will be added to this story.