MV resolution seeks 15 mph speed limit for oil trains

The Mount Vernon City Council passed a resolution Wednesday night calling for a maximum speed of 15 mph for oil-filled rail tank cars that pass through the city.

MOUNT VERNON — The City Council drafted and approved a letter Wednesday to send to the state regarding the transportation of oil by rail through the city.

The letter outlined desired safety standards for trains carrying flammable crude oil, requesting that their speed be limited to 15 mph or less through the city, said Mount Vernon council member Dale Ragan.

“The idea is to keep the trains going slow to cut down on the possibility of a disaster,” he said.

The letter will be sent to the state departments of Transportation and Ecology, Ragan said, as well as Mount Vernon’s federal representatives.

Oil trains remain a contentious issue due to the potential for dangerous derailments, Ragan said. Past incidents with oil-laden tank cars resulted in 47 civilian deaths in a Quebec town from explosions and fires, and other derailments have resulted in spills and fires that damaged local ecosystems.

“We want to make sure nothing like that happens in Mount Vernon,” Ragan said.

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