HB 2131: ‘Insurance and protection that is needed’

Here is the full text of the letter from the City of Hood River to State Dist. 52 Rep. Mark Johnson (R-Hood River). Copies were also sent to State Sen. Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River) and members of the House Energy and Environment Committee:

Dear Representative Johnson,

Please support HB 2131 in the current session of the Oregon Legislature. This legislation directs the Environmental Quality Commission to adopt rules applying certain oil spill prevention and emergency response planning requirements to railroads that own or operate high hazard train routes in this state.

This is a common sense bill that will provide:

• Contingency plans and training for oil train-related spills;

• Fees on railroads to build Oregon’s Oil Spill Contingency Fund;

• Proof that railroads carry adequate insurance to address a worst-case oil train derailment, spill and fire.

Similar requirements are in effect in California and Washington. Federal railroad laws have not preempted these laws.

As last summer’s derailment in Mosier shows, our community is at risk from another oil or high hazard train accident. This bill adds protection and insurance that is needed. Oregon has the weakest level of oil spill protection of any state on the west coast. Passage of this bill would help remedy that. We’re counting on you to help protect the City of Hood River by supporting HB 2131 as introduced, strengthen it as necessary and work toward its passage.

Hood River City Council and Mayor Paul Blackburn

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