SANDPOINT, Idaho - Area officials and rail lines have created a response plan in the event of an oil spill on Lake Pend Oreille and the Clark Fork River.
The Lake Pend Oreille Geographic Response Plan notes places likely to be impacted in the event of a spill and plans for clean up or prevention.
Bob Howard, from the Bonner County Emergency Management Agency, said this plan was based off an older Pend Oreille Basin plan created in 2005. This time around, officials worked with the rail companies.
“BNSF stepped up to the plate, developed a geographical response plan that goes from Boundary County to Kootenai County through Bonner County,” Howard said. “Montana Rail Link also joined in on that.”
Howard said the plan will help mitigate an oil spill in the quickest way possible in order to “protect critical infrastructure and the environment.”
According to the plan, about 24 unit trains per week carry crude oil through Sandpoint. Between 1995 and 2014, the Federal Railroad Administration reported 37 unique derailments. In the spring of this year, according to the new plan, at least four derailments happened in Bonner and Boundary Counties near waterways.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.