Blumenauer Statement on the Mosier Oil Train Derailment

June 4, 2016
Press Release

Portland, Ore. – Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) released the following statement on today’s oil train derailment in Mosier, Oregon:

“Today’s oil train derailment in Mosier is a dangerous and tragic event. Thankfully, no fatalities have been reported, and we hope that those involved in the crash, first responders, and people in the surrounding community remain safe. We don’t yet know whether any of the crude oil being transported in these cars has made it into the river, but we do know it is causing significant air pollution and health concerns for the area. I hope that all safety and environmental concerns can be minimized.

“Seeing our beautiful Columbia River Gorge on fire today should be a wake-up call for federal and state agencies – underscoring the need to complete comprehensive environmental reviews of oil-by-rail in the Pacific Northwest.

“This also illustrates the need for safer rail transport and better preparedness for disasters such as these. Oregon fire departments are on record saying they don’t have the resources to deal with oil train fires.

“Without change, this will happen again. These risks are unacceptable, and we must take action to prevent them.”

In August 2015, Blumenauer sent a letter urging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prepare a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed oil terminal in Vancouver, WA, which would involve significant oil-by-rail transport through the Gorge.

Blumenauer has also pressed the Department of Transportation for strong regulatory action on oil tank car safety. In July 2014, he sent a letter to Secretary Foxx on the issue.