Suggests rail safety changes

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJanuary 14, 2014 

Rail companies must follow federal law for transportation of hazardous materials by rail. The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Rail Administration enforces the federal hazardous materials regulations. These regulations contain responsibilities for incident reporting, emergency response requirements, and security plans.

While citizens wait another decade for the DOT-111 oil tank cars to be improved, the Federal Railroad Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board should require the railroad tank car industry and railroads to do the following:

1. Immediately reduce the speed of all oil trains;

2. Immediately limit the number of oil and ethanol tank cars to less than 50 per train;

3. Increases the liability insurance on oil trains to $1 billion dollars per train;

4. Require weekly rail inspections on all oil train routes;

5. Require track upgrades on all all oil train routes;

6. Require oil trains to carry an emergency spill equipment rail car for use by first responders.

Many thousand of people live in communities along the railroad routes that transport hazardous materials like oil, ethanol, and butane. These requirements could help protect Whatcom county businesses, homes, and families.

Thomas Gilmore

Bellingham

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