Gov. Inslee wants oil trains to slow down

by: Essex Porter Updated:

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OLYMPIA, Wash. - If you think you're seeing more oil and coal trains running through your town the governor's new report on oil train risk provides the numbers to back that up.

It found an increase of more than 10,000 carloads of oil and coal between 2007 and 2012.

When we saw the governor, he used sharp language to describe the oil train risk.

“Oil trains are running through our state every day that are outdated, inadequate and outright dangerous,” Gov. Jay Inslee said at a news conference.

Dangerous like the oil train that exploded in Quebec last year. It had the older tank cars that still make up many of the trains in our state.

“I don't want to use the term bomb, but I don't know what a better metaphor is,” Inslee added.

The federal government regulates railroads, so Inslee sent a letter to the federal government saying the oil train speed limit should be 30 miles an hour, until all the trains in the states have the new, safer tank cars.

But there would be slower trains even as the growing economy is placing greater demand on the rail network.

“There is a compromise to do that but safety is really important,” said North Seattle state Rep. Jessyn Farrell.

The governor also wants to upgrade thousands of crossings- a process that will cost millions.

“We think it's appropriate that the industry buck up and be responsible for the additional safety required,” Inslee said.

Burlington Northern Railroad told us that the company has already committed to replace all the old tank cars, and will spend $235 million dollars on safety upgrades this year.