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Spokane floats fine on coal and oil rail traffic, adds to export headaches

Potentiallyadding to the challenges facing coal bound for the export market, Spokane,Wash., will consider a fine charged for each railcar carrying the commoditythat travels through the city, as well as those hauling crude.

CityCouncil President Ben Stuckart cited recent efforts to limit or completely bansimilar commodity traffic in Oakland, Calif., and Vancouver, Wash., as reasonsfor further consideration of the fine, according to local media reports.

"Iwant the public to weigh in, instead of the council just passing anordinance," said Stuckart. "At the very least, I want a showing ofwhere the community is at on this issue."

Stuckartand others on the council took issue with Union Pacific Railroad's to resume crude trafficthrough the city hours after a rail accident in neighboring Oregon had causedfires and spilled oil.

Asproposed, the fine would amount to $261 per railcar that travels through thecity.

Ifpassed, the fine would likely add to the challenges coal producers face in tryingto reach the export market. A number of proposed export projects have beensidelined or delayed by legal and advocacy challenges in Oregon and , including the GatewayPacific terminal.

Theaddition of the proposed fine to the November ballot will be voted on July 25.

UnionPacific and Stuckart could not be reached for comment on the council move.