Chehalis council approves resolution expressing oil train concerns

The Chehalis City Council approved a resolution Monday night to express its concern regarding the current and future transport of North Dakota Bakken Crude Oil through city limits.

The city council made the resolution after being contacted by several concerned citizens and business owners about the increased number of trains carrying the crude oil through the area.

The resolution is mostly ceremonial since the city is unauthorized to prohibit shipments.

“This is a responsible way to address a situation that we are presented with,” Mayor Dennis Dawes said.

The resolution calls on Gov. Jay Inslee to analyze whether the oil shipments are in the public’s best interest and, if so, to ensure that it’s shipped in the safest way possible.

It also calls on the Washington State Department of Transportation and the Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board to study the potential economic effects more oil trains will have on existing business activity and rail access for local and regional shippers.

The city council voted 4-2 in favor of the resolution. Councilors Chad Taylor and Tony Ketchum voted against it.

Taylor said he did not want to pinpoint just one type of hazard to public safety.

“We only talk about one thing and sure it’s a volatile thing, but I don’t want to pass some resolution to get on some bandwagon where we are all of a sudden against Bakken oil,” Taylor said. “What I’m in favor of is making sure the lines that run through our community are safe.”

The resolution cites catastrophic derailments involving Bakken crude, and explains how cities like Chehalis are not equipped for such events.


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