Credo Action

Tell President Obama: I live in the blast zone. Protect my community from exploding oil trains.

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Tell President Obama and the Department of Transportation:

"The devastating oil train explosion in West Virginia makes clear that you are failing badly to protect my community from dangerous oil trains. Your proposed rules are dangerously weak, and the delay in finalizing them is recklessly irresponsible. Immediately issue the strongest possible safety regulations for oil trains."

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    Tell President Obama: I live in the blast zone. Protect my community from exploding oil trains.

    On Monday, a train carrying fracked oil from North Dakota derailed near the town of Mt. Carbon and twenty cars exploded. The fire burned until Friday.

    The Associated Press reported that "[t]he derailment shot fireballs into the sky, leaked oil into a Kanawha River tributary, burned down a house nearby and forced nearby water treatment [plants] to temporarily shut down."1

    It was the third oil train derailment in 72 hours.

    This could literally happen where you live. According to your zip code, you are one of the 25 million Americans who live in the potential blast zone if an oil train traveling on a rail line near your home derails and explodes.2

    Tell President Obama and the Department of Transportation: Protect my community from exploding oil trains.

    Thankfully, nobody was killed in Monday's explosion. But, if the derailment had happened in Charleston – about 35 miles from the blast site – the results would almost certainly have been deadly and catastrophic.3 The damage could even have surpassed the horrific oil train explosion in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, which killed 47 people.

    What's really terrifying is that the rail cars that exploded weren't the notoriously-explosive DOT-111 cars – sometimes called "the Ford Pinto" of the railways – but the newer, supposedly safer, CPC 1232.

    But the federal government is asleep at the switch. Last month, the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that it was delaying issuing badly needed safety rules for oil trains until May. Worse, the rules are unacceptably weak, and clearly won't prevent accidents like the one in West Virginia.

    There is simply no such thing as safe oil by rail. More than anything, we need to transition to forms of energy that don't explode, pollute people's air and water, or cause catastrophic climate change. But until we get there, it's clear that we're facing an immediate nationwide public safety crisis, and President Obama and the DOT must act to protect our communities, by further strengthening proposed safety standards, and implementing them immediately.

    Tell President Obama and the Department of Transportation: Protect my community from exploding oil trains.

    1. John Raby, "Fire smolders a 3rd day from W.Va. oil train derailment," Associated Press, February 18, 2015
    2. "Oil Train Blast Zone," ForestEthics
    3. Jon Schmitz, "Oil tankers in fiery West Virginia crash were built with new safety features," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 17, 2015