Pass the Oil Transportation Safety Bill

Whereas rapid and dramatic changes to oil transportation are creating serious threats to Washington State communities and waterways; and

Whereas in 2014, approximately 2.6 loaded, mile-long trains carrying a total of 7.8 million gallons of crude oil travel through our state each day; and

Whereas dangerous types of oil—volatile Bakken oil from the Midwest and toxic and heavy tar sands from Canada—pose unique dangers to public health and the environment; and

Whereas more oil spilled from trains into rivers, lakes, and marine waters in 2013 than in the previous forty years combined; and

Whereas since 2013 there have been nine significant oil train derailments, including the July 2013 tragedy in Lac Mégantic, Quebec, where 47 people died in an oil train explosion; and

Whereas oil spills take years to clean up and the affected area never fully recovers as remnants of the spilled fuels remain in the ecosystem; and

Whereas our state laws are outdated and must be modernized to protect communities from today’s threats and potential changes in the future; and

Whereas more than 25 Washington cities, counties and other jurisdictions have adopted resolutions calling on the WA State Legislature to pass legislation to improve oil transportation safety; and

Whereas at the request of Governor Jay Inslee SB 5087 and HB 1449 have been introduced in the State Legislature and would:

  • Give the public information on how and what kind of oil is moving through WA
  • Authorize oil spill prevention measures and increase the scope of hazardous materials inspections
  • Ensure companies carrying oil, not WA taxpayers, pay for cleaning up all oil spills
  • Provide funding to modernize our system to safeguard communities and waterways

Whereas the Washington State Attorney General has reviewed said legislation and found it to be enforceable in accordance with existing Federal regulations governing the transportation of goods across state lines; and

Therefore, be it resolved that we, the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, urge our representatives and senators in the Washington State Legislature to pass SB 5087, Concerning Oil Transportation Safety, during the 2015 legislative session; and

Therefore, be it further resolved that we send copies of this resolution to all county and legislative district Democratic Party organizations requesting that their members write or call their state legislators urging passage of SB 5087.

Submitted by Brian Gunn, State Committee Man for the 31st LD, with 50 signatures of WSDCC members, to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee for consideration at its January 24, 2015 meeting in Olympia, WA. (Date Submitted 1/24/2015)

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