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Governor Kitzhaber called Friday for more state rail inspectors and other safety measures for crude oil shipped by rail in Oregon.

"We’ve seen a dramatic increase in crude oil moving along Oregon’s railways over just a few short years," Kitzhaber stated in a news release. "I believe we need a targeted statewide response to ensure Oregon has the safest rail system possible.”

Much of the crude oil now being shipped by train is from the Bakken region of North Dakota, which is more flammable than other oil and has caught fire in some trail derailments.

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently released a set of draft rules setting tougher tank car standards and requiring lower speeds for trains carrying crude oil. The federal agency also proposed that railroads hauling more than one million gallons of Bakken crude must provide appropriate notification to state emergency response coordinators.

Kitzhaber hailed that move but said more needs to be done. “Railroads should provide notification to emergency responders for all crude oil transported by rail,” he said. “A million-gallon threshold or point of origin shouldn’t keep emergency responders from knowing what hazardous material

is traveling through their communities.”

Three train cars carrying crude oil from North Dakota derailed Thursday in Seattle, but no oil was spilled.

Steve Law can be reached at 503-546-5139 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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