City of Mosier continues to fight against oil by rail traffic - KPTV - FOX 12

City of Mosier continues to fight against oil by rail traffic

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Site of the Mosier derailment five months ago. (KPTV) Site of the Mosier derailment five months ago. (KPTV)

It has now been five months since a Union Pacific oil train derailed in the small town of Mosier.

On Monday, Mosier's Mayor toured the site of the fiery crash as the town tries to prevent this from happening again.

"We're really fighting for the life of our town," said Mayor Arlene Burns.

Burns doesn't want history to repeat itself in a town that saw thousands of gallons of crude oil spill into the ground and Columbia River.

"We feel incredibly vulnerable here, and there's a lot of push for these terminals in Washington, Oregon and California," Burns said.

Last June, 16 tanker cars full of crude oil derailed from a Union Pacific train in Mosier. Over 40,000 gallons of crude oil leaked out, fueling a major fire that could have spread into town.

"My son was in 2nd grade. He was in the school that was about 100 yards away, not very far at all," said Emily Reed, Mosier resident. "It was a big change for our town and we're still feeling the ramifications."

Five months later, a charred hillside and tree stumps are the only visible signs of the catastrophe. 

Since the derailment, the city has fought to decrease the volume of oil by rail traffic.

Wasco County voted earlier this month to deny a plan by Union Pacific for new tracks through Mosier.

"I feel like right now what's happening, there's much more power on grass roots, on local governments, on state governments to have as strong and bold resolutions and intentions as we possibly can to protect ourselves," said Burns.

Burns says Mosier has recovered from the oil spill but there are still scars left in its wake.

"We still look like a happy little town, but it's taken its toll," Burns said.

There is still a proposal to build a major oil-export terminal in Vancouver. Elected leaders from Washington and Oregon met in Vancouver on Monday to discuss prevention plans.

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