Spokane voters may decide train safety initiative


(PHOTO AND STORY: KHQ.COM)

Oil trains in Spokane have been called an accident waiting to happen, and while one group has filed a petition calling for stricter safety regulations, another says those regulations could hurt the city in the long run.

On Monday the Safer Spokane initiative submitted 5,200 signatures to the city clerk to get a measure on the November ballot requiring the flammability of Baaken crude oil to be reduced and coal shipments be covered before traveling through the city in rail cars. The group says they're worried about public safety due to coal dust and a potential disaster if one of those oil trains were to derail in Spokane.

The initiative, if passed by voters, would fine shippers of untreated oil and uncovered coal $261 per car.

Opponents call the initiative not only illegal, but unenforceable. They say the cost to the city would be too great and would put tax payers on the hook for the legal fight. They say this measure is the wrong way to address their issues.

For now, it looks like the initiative will be up to voters during the election in November.

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