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Bob Larson Vegetable Oil Shipping Bill Passes House
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Washington State Farm Bureau Report
Date: March 14, 2017

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I’m Bob Larson. The cost of hauling vegetable oil by rail may be slashed after a bill gets through the House that cuts back new state rules that lumped them in with crude oil haulers.

House Bill 1136, that allows three small railroads in Eastern Washington to operate under less restrictive rules for responding to spills, was introduced by Pomeroy Republican Mary Dye who gave her colleagues a pretty convincing sales pitch …

MARY DYE … “I told them about the comprehensive oil train regulations that passed because of the fiery crashes that were occurring across the nation with the Bakken Crude. And, how that was appropriate, however it inadvertently swept in our vegetable oil industry. And that that, of course, needed a more tailored approach because, obviously, the vegetable oil is not nearly as volatile as the Bakken Crude and we’re not hauling large shipments of these types of oils. And so, we needed something that was more affordable and appropriate to the railroad industry.”

The Democratic-controlled chamber voted 97-1 in favor of the bill that now moves on to the Republican-led Senate.

The bill would change a 2015 law that requires railroads to hold bi-annual cleanup drills and purchase expensive equipment to clean up spills.

The law was set up for larger crude oil rail tankers, but also covered smaller lines like Central Washington, Columbia Basin, and Great Northwest railroads that haul canola, mineral, and soybean oils.

Those three are scheduled to provide simplified spill-response plans by the end of the month that includes a “field document” for responding to spills and identify the clean-up contractors they would use.

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