Legislation proposed by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., on Aug. 1 would provide $40 million in grants and “financial assistance” to “local communities” per year to address “safety concerns” posed by the derailment of trains carrying crude oil and hazardous materials.
The Crude Oil Advanced Tracking Act would require railroads to share information regarding oil shipments with state emergency responders so they know what risk they face and it allocates tens of millions in financial assistance towards emergency preparedness and risk reduction in local communities.
The bill would:
- Mandate that railroads share the manifest information of dangerous trains with local emergency responders in every community through which their materials will travel.
- Allocate $15 million a year in High Hazard Rail Shipments Preparedness and Training Grants to support the development, improvement or implementation of emergency plans and training for communities through which crude oil trains regularly pass.
- Provides $25 million a year of financial assistance to support local projects that reduce risk or help protect communities.
“There needs to be safeguards in place and local communities should be empowered against the threat of oil train derailments, ensuring that if tragedy strikes that emergency services can quickly respond and save lives,” Sen. Wyden said in a statement.
He added that this bill in response to multiple accidents involving trains carrying crude oil, including a 2016 derailment in Mosier, Ore., that spilled 42,000 gallons of crude oil in the Columbia River Gorge and sparked a large fire.