1. Whereas oil trains and other high-hazard trains have proven to be demonstrably unsafe at the speeds at which they travel through our communities;
    1. More than a dozen oil and other high-hazard train incidents since 2012 have demonstrated that a variety of tank car designs (DOT-111, DOT-117, CPC-1232) derail, rupture, and fail at the speeds at which they typically travel, from low speeds to high speeds, and the resultant spills, fires, air emissions and emergencies have dramatic health, safety, water quality, and other environmental quality impacts on the communities in which these events occur;


  1. Whereas the worst-case derailments of oil trains, liquid petroleum gas (LPG) trains, liquid natural gas (LNG) trains, and other high-hazard trains pose a significant threat to the safety and lives in our  communities through which they travel;
    1. In 2013, the Lac Megantic oil train rail disaster caused 49 fatalities and dramatically damaged the town of Lac Megantic, Quebec;
    2. The rail disaster involved the use of DOT-111 rail cars moving more than 60 mph and derailing catastrophically at a high speed carrying Bakken crude oil;
    3. The fire and spill were difficult to control for more than a day following the disaster;
    4. The long-lasting effects of this event are still being felt in the community of Lac Megantic; and
    5. Other oil train and high-hazard train derailments could have been much worse. For instance, according to a report commissioned by the City of Vancouver, WA, had a Lac Megantic-style disaster occurred in Vancouver, WA, the damage could approach or exceed $5 billion with severe human health and safety impacts;


  1. Whereas the June 2016 Mosier, OR oil train derailment demonstrates that oil trains are unsafe and should be avoided;
    1. The Mosier derailment occurred at a speed of roughly 26 mph on a gentle curve on a nearly windless day using CPC-1232 cars on a recently inspected Union Pacific rail line carrying Bakken crude oil;
    2. Multiple cars derailed, spilled, and burned;
    3. The ensuing fire burned for 14 hours, prompting the closure of I-84, the evacuation of the Mosier community school and a portion of Mosier;
    4. Mosier’s drinking water supply was impacted by the event;
    5. Mosier’s soil and  groundwater were contaminated by the volatile toxic chemicals contained in Bakken crude oil for months after the event;
    6. U.S. Oil (now a part of Parr Pacific) was not held liable for its role in shipping oil through Mosier. Union Pacific came to a settlement with the community on its own; and
    7. Failed lag bolts are blamed for the derailment;


  1. Whereas the December 2020 Custer, WA oil train derailment demonstrates that oil trains are unsafe and should be avoided:
    1. The Custer oil train derailment occurred at a speed of only 7mph with a train carrying Bakken crude oil in DOT-117 rail cars on a recently inspected BNSF rail line in Whatcom County, WA;
    2. The ensuing fire burned for several hours and forced the closure of I-5;
    3. The community was directed to evacuate and/or shelter in place depending on location. Schools and other public gathering places were placed within hazard zones as a result of the derailment, fire, and  toxic air pollutants  from burning Bakken crude oil;
    4. Significant quantities of PFAS-containing firefighting foam were used to suppress  the blaze of toxic burning Bakken crude oil in close proximity to salmon habitat and sensitive groundwater resources. The use of these harmful yet effective chemical surfactants used in fire response raises concerns over adverse human health effects  and the  long-lasting impacts on ecological resources such as drinking water and fish populations ;
    5. These factors are still under investigation and careful consideration, but raise clear concerns about the safety of oil trains because of the allegedly high quality of cars in use, the low speed of derailment, and the purported high level of vigilance in track maintenance by BNSF.  Since these factors cannot mitigate the risk of oil train derailments, spills, and fires, communities face disproportionate and unaddressed concerns over the use of oil trains and other high-hazard trains on mainline railroads at speeds for which the rail cars are not demonstrably tested and safe; and
    6. These issues and the Custer and Mosier derailments raise particular concerns with the potential introduction of liquefied natural gas (LNG) trains to U.S. mainline railways, a manifestly reckless enterprise; and


  1. [Deschutes County derailment]


Based on these findings,




  1. To oppose oil and gas by rail transportation through and within the City of Bend;


  1. To declare that it is the policy of the City of Bend to oppose projects and proposals that have the potential to increase the amount of oil or gas being transported by rail through the City of Bend;


  1. To support the development and review of a comprehensive Risk and Health Impact Assessment, at the expense of the initiating entity, prior to approval of any new oil transfer and storage permits by any state, regional, or federal agency;


  1. To [explore/to fund] a risk analysis that quantifies the potential costs of risks from the transport of oil and gas by rail. Critical components of such a risk assessment would include an analysis of the potential costs, both to City government and to the community, of risks associated with catastrophic events related to oil or gas train derailment. The Council further supports a risk assessment that evaluates the adequacy of existing financial assurance instruments to compensate for the costs of risks as well as the existence of instruments available in the private market that would more fully compensate for costs borne by the community;


  1. To investigate the feasibility and development of City Code amendments to strengthen the City’s ability to require the owners and transporters of oil and gas by rail to pay all costs of the risks associated with transport, and other local regulations to better protect the health and safety of Bend’s residents; and


  1. To call on members of the Oregon Legislature, relevant Oregon administrative agencies and departments, Governor Kate Brown, the Oregon Congressional Delegation, and the new presidential administration to enact new rules and regulations to protect Bend’s residents from the aforementioned health and safety risks of the transport of oil and gas by rail.


Adopted by the Bend City Council the 2nd day of December, 2020.


YES:                    NO:




This resolution is endorsed by: