Tribal leaders, Robert Kennedy Jr. discuss concerns over Mosier - KPTV - FOX 12

Tribal leaders, Robert Kennedy Jr. discuss concerns over Mosier oil spill

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Leaders from several Washington and Oregon tribes were joined by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to discuss the oil spill near Mosier Thursday. (KPTV) Leaders from several Washington and Oregon tribes were joined by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to discuss the oil spill near Mosier Thursday. (KPTV)
MOSIER, OR (KPTV) -

Flames and smoke billowed into the Gorge after the trail derailment near Mosier last week.

Crews had to siphon oil from the cars before they could remove them from the side of the tracks and move them out of town.

The cars have now been cleared from the area, but other trains are still passing through the area with a 10 mile per hour restriction.

Local groups are concerned about safety in the area, and Thursday the Yakama Nation and leaders from several Washington and Oregon tribes gathered in Mosier to address the issue.

Holding a news conference dressed in traditional clothing, they welcomed a special guest, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Kennedy has family in mossier and flew in specifically to take part in the rally.

According to reports from Union Pacific, 42,000 gallons of crude oil spilled out from the derailment.

Tribes are concerned about the transport of such fossil fuels through their lands because of the risk it poses to the environment and their treaty fishing rights.

Kennedy, who serves as the chief prosecuting attorney for Riverkeeper and president and senior attorney for the Waterkeeper Alliance, said things could have been a lot worse on from the derailment.

“My niece was sitting out in that field when that bomb train exploded, and I've talked to the chief and he said that he told me that we narrowly averted a terrible catastrophe,” he said. “My relatives moved to this valley because of the wind, and there is almost always wind, but the day that the fire was one of the rare calm days.”

Thursday's gathering took place on the 161st anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of 1855 between the Yakama Nation and the United States government. Tribal leaders claim that the pollution threatens the fish and risks violating all of the treaty rights.

There is no official word on what caused that derailment, but Union Pacific officials said a faulty bolt fastener may be to blame.

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