Politics Blog

Bellingham City Council considers resolution calling for safer rail tank cars

The Bellingham City Council is taking up a resolution asking regulatory agencies to move as quickly as possible to improve the safety of rail cars that carry crude oil, ethanol and other dangerous liquids through Bellingham.

Read the resolution here.

The resolution is on the agenda of the council committee session that begins at 1:55 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27 in City Council chambers at City Hall.

Alarm over rail safety has been growing in the wake of fiery accidents involving crude oil tank cars, carrying Bakken crude oil from North Dakota to refineries.

The BP Cherry Point refinery now gets such trains, and the route to the refinery goes through Bellingham and Ferndale.

Federal officials are now scrambling to update safety regulations--even though the poor crash performance of many cars now in use has been an issue for decades,  as this story from McClatchy's Curtis Tate notes. 

BP reports it has acquired a fleet of safer tank cars for use on the local run, although the older cars may also be used at times.