​North Dakota to sue Washington State over crude-by-rail rule

Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington State

North Dakota is preparing to sue the state of Washington over a new Washington law targeting oil shipped by rail.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill into law Thursday that requires a lower vapour pressure limit for crude shipped by rail than the industry standard and North Dakota requires. Inslee has made climate change a focus of his 2020 Democratic presidential campaign.

The Washington bill’s sponsor, Democratic state Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig, says it’s about protecting communities from explosive derailments.

North Dakota officials, though, say the Washington law would make Pacific Northwest refineries off-limits to the energy industry in North Dakota, which is the nation’s No. 2 oil producer.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says a federal lawsuit will be filed within weeks. He has reached out to other oil states about possibly joining as a plaintiff or offering supportive testimony.

© 2019 The Canadian Press