- Associated Press - Thursday, July 13, 2017

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - A proposed citizens’ initiative that would fine certain coal and crude oil rail shipments through downtown Spokane will likely go before city voters in November.

Spokane County election officials said Wednesday that the initiative gathered enough signatures to appear on the fall ballot. The Spokesman Review says (http://bit.ly/2tQfg78) the City Council can pass the measure as is or submit it to voters.

The measure would fine railroad operators $261 per car carrying uncovered coal and untreated oil.

The council proposed a similar ordinance last year but withdrew it weeks later, citing the certainty of a successful legal challenge and a desire to work with railroads to prevent derailments.

Initiative sponsor Todd Eklof says the ballot measure is about public safety and doesn’t conflict with federal laws.

Opponents say the newer measure is still prohibited under federal law since the federal government regulates railroad operations and safety.

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Information from: The Spokesman-Review, http://www.spokesman.com

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