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Oregon senators praise FRA, UP agreement on safety standards

U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) issued a statement last week praising the announcement that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has reached a safety-standard agreement with Union Pacific Railroad. UP agreed to additional inspections and maintenance improvements following a fiery crude-oil train derailment last June in Mosier, Ore. The incident occurred as the train was traveling through the Columbia River Gorge. Although no one was injured, the FRA said the railroad hadn't been following its own inspection rules, according to a report by the Associated Press. The FRA is still investigating the accident. After the derailment, Wyden and Merkley called on the FRA to halt crude-oil traffic through the Columbia Gorge until the cause of the Mosier accident was fully analyzed. "We welcome the Federal Railroad Administration's decision to hold Union Pacific to higher safety standards following the disastrous oil train derailment in Mosier this year. While banning oil trains from the Columbia Gorge is the only way to completely eliminate future derailments, this agreement has the potential to significantly improve railroad safety — something we have been calling for since 2014," the senators said in their prepared statement. They will review the compliance agreement to "to ensure it helps protect communities near train tracks, and will closely monitor its enforcement to ensure the Trump administration upholds the agreement's requirements," they added. "We also expect the FRA to complete its investigation of the Mosier accident and to make further changes to strengthen or add safety measures to the agreement if the investigation warrants them," the senators said.

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