The Oregon House of Representatives on Monday approved a bill to boost readiness for oil spills from trains, advancing legislation whose years-long delay revealed the strong influence of corporate money in Oregon politics.
California and Washington took similar action years ago.
House Bill 2209, which passed by a 56-3 vote, still needs to pass the state Senate. If it does and the governor signs it, the state can levy two fees to fund plans for spills from the trains that started hauling hundreds of millions of gallons throughout the Pacific Northwest in 2012.
The bill allows Oregon to charge up to $20 on each oil tank car entering Oregon or loaded in the state, plus a small annual fee on railroads’ gross operating revenues in Oregon.
The fees, which go into effect Jan. 1, 2020, are expected to raise about $1 million every two years before being canceled in 2027. The money will fund work by the Department of Environmental Quality and the state fire marshal’s office.