A train towing oil cars derailed and caught fire about 70 miles east of Portland, Oregon near the town of Mosier, closing down transportation on a nearby interstate freeway and causing the evacuation of schools in the area.
The train was hauling Bakken crude oil from Idaho to Tacoma, Washington.
Following news of the derailment, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden said in a statement, “It’s clear with this crash – as it has been for years – that more must be done to protect our communities from trains carrying explosive hazardous fuels,” Wyden said. “That’s why I’ve repeatedly called for more resources and notification for first responders, and why I’m continuing to push for my bill to move unsafe cars off the tracks and away from communities.”
Last year, Wyden introduced the Hazardous Materials Rail Transportation Safety Improvement Act, which would provide tax incentives for upgrading to safer cars than 1232 oil tank cars. Those are the type of cars have been reported to be involved in today’s accident.
Wyden also raised concerns about the safety of 1232 tank cars in a letter to the White House budget office last year.
Wyden has called for increased notification of railroad shipments of oil and other hazardous materials to give first responders much-needed information to allow them to respond to potential accidents.