SPOKANE, Wash ---A petition to ban oil trains from certain areas of Spokane received enough signatures to make it to November’s ballot.
An average of 780 oil trains pass through Spokane County every year. The most recent derailment in the Spokane area happened near Colfax in 2004. It spilled over 400 gallons of diesel from the engine and caused a massive cleanup.
This is one of the reason for the petition to declare oil trains as “inherently dangerous” and “ultra-hazardous.” The petition needed 5,000 signatures but received almost double that. If voted into law it would ban oil trains from passing within 2,000 feet of schools, hospitals or the Spokane River.
Other than the 2004 derailment there has only been one other oil train incident. An oil train had a minor spill in Spokane Valley a few years ago.
There are not a lot of problems in Spokane with this but nationally it is a bit more concerning. Oil trains spilled more crude oil in 2014 than in any other year on record, according to the Department of Transportation.
The Spokane city council will examine this possible ballot measure Monday, and from there lawmakers are expected to start the process where the petition’s signatures are verified.