Union Pacific Apologizes for “Inconvenience” as Oil Drips Onto Tracks and Trains Resume after Explosion

poster_9b0f79ab408048b89e657a84dafa86cbMayor Arlene Burns reports that Union Pacific (UP) has resumed sending trains through Mosier while oil from derailed tankers continues to drip onto the tracks. Mosier’s aquifer– its entire water supply— was completely depleted as fire crews risked their lives and hosed down tankers to keep more than four from exploding.

OPB’s Conrad Wilson, reports that crews have recovered about 10,000 gallons of crude oil from the town’s sewage system. Another 32,000 gallons burned off or vaporized in the initial crash, was captured by booms in the Columbia, or soaked into the soil.

Oregon’s Governor, Senators, and several state reps have called on UP to stop sending oil through the Gorge until the toxic mess is cleaned up and the cause of the derailment has been determined.

So far, UP has refused to comply with this request but has apologized for any “inconvenience” caused by the explosion.

OPB reports that as of June 7, at least 10 trains have passed through Mosier since resuming after the explosion.  No crude oil trains are scheduled to pass through for the next week, but UP’s spokesperson Raquel Espinoza said that’s more a function of scheduling than any deliberate action taken by the railroad to avoid sending crude through Mosier. She said the railroad plans to resume normal operations “soon”.

Mosier’s Mayor Arlene Burns to Think Out Loud’s Dave Miller:

“I don’t think there’s any safe way to transport volatile materials by train….there are no fire departments anywhere along the corridor that are equipped to deal with a fire such as the one we had…In lieu of climate change, in lieu of the dangers that are posed to everyone, not just Mosier, and the risks that we take for the profit of a very few…it just doesn’t calculate out into anything that’s reasonable”.

“The rules for interstate commerce were made a long time ago, before anybody ever heard of Bakken Crude…so we need to revisit some of these laws”.