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Oil Trains Letter: “President Obama Should Demand Immediate Action!”

June 4, 2014

Oi train derails and catches fire in Lynchburg, Virginia; spills into James River. Photo: Blue Virginia.

Today’s New York Times carries a strong response to their understated editorial, “Time to Move on Dangerous Tank Cars.”   Correctly identifying the scope of the problem as much bigger than old tank cars, Noah Greenwald asserts, “even stronger tanker cars are prone to puncture, leading to explosive, life-threatening fireballs and spills.” Here’s his letter in full:

To the Editor:

Re “Time to Move on Dangerous Tank Cars” (editorial, May 30):

Stronger tanker cars for transporting highly volatile crude oil will not alone protect our citizens, rivers or wildlife from this unchecked risk.

As your editorial correctly suggests, stronger federal regulations are needed immediately to counter the large increase in shipments of crude oil by rail. But as demonstrated in the recent accident in Lynchburg, Va., even stronger tanker cars are prone to puncture, leading to explosive, life-threatening fireballs and spills.

Inexplicably, the Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency have failed to meet their legal duty to update response plans to account for these spills and explosions.

We know that trains will continue to derail. And with billions of gallons of explosive crude oil moving by rail across the country, we know that these dangerous accidents will continue to threaten our communities and natural resources. President Obama should demand immediate action.

NOAH GREENWALD
Endangered Species Director
Center for Biological Diversity
Portland, Ore., May 30, 2014

Noah Greenwald’s contribution is an excellent example for the rest of us. Haven’t written your own letter about the oil trains disasters to your local, regional, statewide or national media outlets? The effort is worth it, because the regulators consistently downplay the actual dangers from the oil trains. The media also fails to connect the dots: this shale oil comes from Bakken Shale fracking and flaring, resulting in climate devastation, even as climate change is more and more recognized as Public Enemy #1. Try it your way: speak up. Speak out. Connect the dots. Stop the oil bomb trains.

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