An aerial view of the smoke and fire from an oil train derailment in Mosier in the Columbia River Gorge
04 June, 2016, 15:05
Train tracks and tanker cars weren't built to accommodate trains carrying loads of heavy crude oil, making the trains more likely to derail.
Black smoke could be seen following the accident, which occurred in Mosier, near the Columbia River.
Ten train cars have derailed off a Union Pacific track in Mosier, Oregon.
The Oregon Department of Transportation has closed I-84 between Cascade Locks and The Dalles. Hunt did not know how fast the train was traveling at the time, but witnesses said it was going slowly as it passed the town of Mosier, Oregon, about 70 miles east of Portland.
The derailment today of multiple oil tanker cars and resulting fire in the Columbia River Gorge reaffirms the danger that transporting oil by rail still poses to people and the environment - despite new safety rules meant to prevent such accidents.
The plan overnight is to continue to cool off the derailed rail cars.
The train is operated by Union Pacific, which hasn't returned calls.
The final decision on the oil train terminal is in the hands of Washington Governor Jay Inslee, who says he's waiting on a recommendation from the Washington State Energy Facility Evaluation Council before making a decision.
"History has repeatedly shown just how deadly and risky oil train crashes can be", Sierra Club campaigner Lena Moffitt said Friday.
A runaway Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway train that had been left unattended derailed, spilling oil and catching fire inside the town of Lac-Megantic in Quebec. No one was injured, but more than 2,000 residents were evacuated as emergency responders struggled with the intense fire. It is unclear which type of oil is involved. Six cars exploded into flames and an estimated 60,000 gallons of oil spilled. Oil was released from at least one rail auto.
As Michael Lang, conservation director at Friends of the Columbia Gorge, told the Mercury late a year ago: "These trains go through small towns along the gorge".
A train derailment in the Columbia River Gorge sent a massive column of black smoke into the sky Friday afternoon. A spokesman for the railroad didn't immediately return calls. "Simply put, transporting oil by rail - or by any method - is a disaster waiting to happen".
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