Spokane council head wants to pull oil-trains ballot measure

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The president of the Spokane City Council will ask colleagues to withdraw a ballot measure that would fine oil and coal shipments through the city.

Ben Stuckart tells The Spokesman-Review "we may have been a bit hasty" when the council decided to ask voters in November to ban on oil and coal shipments through downtown Spokane.

Stuckart said he'll ask the council Monday to allow a vote to withdraw the ballot measure. He says he is doing so after reviewing legal analyses and meeting with railroad executives. He and Councilman Breean Beggs pitched the measure amid concerns about potential fiery derailments.

Some have questioned whether the council could legally impose such fines on train operators, and even some councilmembers acknowledged during the July 25 vote that it would face legal challenges.

The Association of American Railroads and others have criticized the proposed measure, while environmental groups and first responders have supported it.