An oil train derailment by the Columbia River has brought into clearer focus an issue the tribes have been warning about for years.
“It was not a matter of if, but when,” said Warm Springs Tribal Council Chairman Austin Greene. “It’s been a disaster waiting to happen.”
Chairman Greene earlier this week visited the site where the train derailment happened, at Mosier on the Columbia. A volatile type of oi, Bakken, spilled from cars that went off the rails. This sparked a fire, and oil that seeped into the Mosier water system, threatening the Columbia. This is an obvious threat to the tribes’ treaty fishing rights at the river.
The Confederated Tribes for three years now have been saying a spill such, or worse, is inevitable. Other river tribes also voiced their concern about the on-going problem of oil and coal transport by rail along the river.