Saturday, June 7, 2014

VAN Featured in The Columbian Newspaper

States, railroads at odds over oil train information.

The absence of public information from railroads motivated Landon to co-found the Vancouver Action Network this year to hold railroads and oil companies accountable. In mid-April his group launched Washington State Train Watch, with residents in Vancouver, Camas, Spokane, Everett and the Columbia River Gorge monitoring oil trains. The effort included recording the number of oil trains moving through communities, tracking the placards that identify what's inside a tank car and using scientific equipment to monitor toxic air emissions from tank cars.

The group publishes the information it gathers by way of a blog, Twitter feed, Facebook and YouTube. The 12-day effort in April was successful, Landon said. So much so, the all-volunteer group plans to continue the train-watch program this summer. The ongoing effort will include helping enforce the federal government's order that railroads disclose oil-train information "and possibly bust the railroads for violations," Landon wrote in a May 29 blog post.

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