City wants assurance over rail-line safety, approves resolution

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad representatives explained to members of the Auburn City Council last week what the railroad is doing now and means to do in years to come to ensure its lines are as safe as possible given all the oil transport activities.

All well and good, councilmembers said at Monday's regular meeting at City Hall.

But maybe, they decided, with all this oil transporting going on, maybe it's time for state and federal governments to do more to ensure that cities along the lines suffer no adverse impacts.

In a resolution passed by a unanimous margin on Monday, the City:

• Strongly requests" that the agencies doing all the environmental reviews study potential threats to the City's public safety, water resources, environment, economy and traffic, and include the City in all environmental impact statements connected to any projects that could cause an increase in associated rail traffic through Auburn;

• Supports the creation of "clear federal guidelines" for tracking the chemical composition of the fuels inside the tankers to ensure that local governments, residents and emergency responders may better understand and plan;

• Asks that the federal government immediately implement safety regulations concerning train speeds, older tank cars and other hazards associated with flammable crude oil;

• Urges the state Legislature to adopt regulations that promote rail safety, especially along transportation routes used in the transportation of oil; and

• Calls for the state to coordinate state agencies to study rail-related safety preparedness and capacity to respond to any accidents involving oil.

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