Following up on a blog I posted a few days ago concerning Oregon industrial accidents, it is my happy duty to report a significant sign of progress both for public safety and for the public’s right to know.
Wednesday evening The Oregonian reported that “the owner of the oil train terminal near Clatskanie (will) begin requiring safer tanker cars to deliver oil to the facility starting June 1.” Regular readers will recall that just a few days ago I wrote about a reversal of policy by the Oregon Department of Transportation. After The Oregonian won a court case seeking access to documents that rail companies are required to file regarding hazardous shipments, the ODOT initially announced it would no longer collect this information, on the grounds that it was now public. As I reported a few days ago, the agency reversed that policy under pressure from the Governor, the media and, most importantly, the public.
Today, it is good to report that the owners of a major oil terminal will require higher safety standards for shipments passing through their facility. While there is no way to link this directly to the events of the past week, it is always good to welcome a victory for the public’s right to know and, more broadly, for public safety.
As the newspaper reports, today’s announcement “came within minutes of the latest in a string of oil train accidents, a derailment in downtown Lynchburg, Virginia that spilled flaming oil into the James River and underscored the risks posed by the rapid rise in crude moving by rail.” The paper goes on to note that the Clatskanie terminal “handled more than 319 million gallons of oil in 2013 and drove the 250 percent increase in crude moving by rail in Oregon last year.”
As an Oregon industrial accident attorney it is always good to see a company moving pro-actively to do the right thing. Our modern life is based on oil – there is no getting away from that fact. But that fact does not mean that we should not take every reasonable precaution to ensure that the oil we all depend on is moved and stored in the safest possible manner.