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Oil Bomb Train Derails, Explodes in IL; PA, NJ, NY, VA Push Back

March 6, 2015

As yet another oil “bomb train” burns, this time in Illinois about 1000 feet from the Galena River — with a one-mile evacuation zone — the message could not be more clear. The newer, “safer” 1232 rail cars are exploding just like the “unsafe” DOT-111 rail cars. The DOT-111 cars were implicated in many derailments since 47 people were killed by an exploding Bakken Shale oil train in Lac Megantic, Canada in July 2013. But as the February 16th West Virginia fireball and today’s oil cars aflame demonstrate, it’s not the rail cars, it’s the cargo: uber-flammable Bakken Shale oil is not safe by rail, by pipeline, or by barge.

Here is major news coverage followed by organizers and officials responding in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia and New York:

Reuters: BNSF oil train derails in rural Illinois; two cars aflame

Chicago Tribune: BNSF: Oil train derailment near Galena involved safer tank cars (includes video)

Huffington Post: Freight train carrying crude derails near Illinois city (photos)

Chicago Sun-Times: Agencies mobilize after crude oil train derails, catches fire near Galena

KWQC: Moment by moment updates, photos on site in Galena breaking news: UPDATE: BNSF to set up claims center after derailment


Flames from BNSF Bakken Shale oil train derailed directly adjacent to the Galena River in Illinois, March 5th, 2015. Photo: Mike Bureley, thonline

 Related: PA, NJ, NY, VA news:

Philadelphia City Council will vote on a Resolution to protect residents from exploding oil trains on Thursday, March 12th. Come in person. To testify, call the Clerk: (215) 686-3410 on Tues. or Weds.

What: Philadelphia City Council general meeting

When: Thursday, March 12th, 10 AM.

Where: City Hall, Broad and Market Streets, 4th Floor, Council Chambers. Remember to bring your photo ID.

Bring: Small paper signs, no sticks, with your messages, such as: “Ban the bomb trains,” “Ban DOT-111 and 1232 rail cars,” “Protect Philly: No Flaming, no Flaring, no Fracking Bakken Shale Oil Trains”

New Jersey: Rally and Press conference Saturday, March 7th, 2015:

Host:  Coalition to Ban Unsafe Oil Trains
What: Rally & Press Conference
When: Sat. March 7 at 2pm – 3:30 pm
Where: Abram Demaree Homestead, Corner of Schraalenburgh Road & Old Hook Road at Oradell Reservoir overpass, Closter, NJ.
Parking: available at United Water, 200 Old Hook Road, Harrington Park, NJ – short walk to homestead & farm.
Contact: Rosemary Dreger Carey
mobile: 201-841-5171

                                                                                                                                                                              Pennsylvania statewide: After three oil train derailments in Pennsylvania in little over one year, PennEnvironment assessed who’s at risk, and where. See their report: Danger Around the Bend.

Virginia: Officials have proposed a $361,000 civil fine to CSX for the Lynchburg derailment and spill last year, plus the costs of investigating the derailment. The massive conflagration and oil spill caused the river to catch fire when a CSX oil train derailed, exploded and burned near Lynchburg last year.

New York: The town of Esopus, already in harm’s way from both oil trains and barges, is also threatened by the controversial proposed Pilgrim Pipelines, which would carry Bakken Shale oil south from Albany to Linden, NJ and refined products like jet fuel and gasoline north, doubling the risk of explosions and leaks. Esopus is holding a forum tomorrow, opposing Pilgrim pipelines with the theme: “Oil trains vs. barges vs. pipelines: A False Choice”:

What: The Esopus Pilgrim Pipelines Community Forum

When: Saturday, March 7th from 10:30 AM to 12 noon

Where: Esopus Library, 128 Canal Street, Port Ewen, New York. 

Speakers: Jen Metzger, Citizens for Local Power and Councilmember, Town of Rosendale; Kate Hudson, Riverkeeper; Iris Marie Bloom, Protecting Our Waters and Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipelines-NY.

Special Appearance: Sen. Kevin Cahill, or staffer, will make a special announcement at the forum.

Hat tips to Tracy Carluccio, Coryn Wolk, Chris Spatz, Adam Garber, and Rosemary Carey for news links. 

  1. Tim Truscott permalink
    March 6, 2015 2:46 pm

    Hi Iris,

    We have scheduled an impromptu demonstration today at 5:00 PM in Albany in front of the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation headquarters in response to yesterday’s Galena, IL derailment.

    You probably know there is a big protest scheduled for Saturday at the Oradell Reservoir in Bergan County, NJ. The CSX oil trains which you see coming into the PES refinery at South Philadelphia cross the Oradell Reservoir, which is the source of drinking water for 750,000 people.

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. louise permalink
    March 9, 2015 1:10 pm

    wow! send me more about Bergen County NJ Oradell Reservoir!!!

  3. Ann Dixon permalink
    March 11, 2015 1:45 pm

    Thank you, protesters!

    By Myles Ma | NJ Advance Media for
    Email the author | Follow on Twitter
    on March 08, 2015 at 12:00 PM, updated March 08, 2015 at 12:05 PM

    CLOSTER — More than 100 protesters rallied Saturday near the Oradell Reservoir to call attention to the threat of oil train cars that pass through the region, the Record reported.

    Fifteen to 30 trains carrying up to 3.6 million gallons of crude oil each week pass the reservoir, which supplies water to 750,000 people in Bergen and Hudson counties.

    A spill would take weeks to clean, Capt. Bill Sheehan of the Hackensack Riverkeeper conservation group said. United Water, which owns the reservoir, is working with Bergen County and the CSX transportation company to create an emergency response plan in case of a spill, said spokesman Rich Henning.

    An oil train derailed Thursday in western Illinois. The rail cars burned for more than a day despite being retrofitted with protective shields to meet a higher safety standard, railroad officials told the Associated Press.

    A series of similar accidents has raised concerns in New Jersey over the safety of shipping crude oil by rail. The booming Bakken shale oil fields in northwest North Dakota have led to an increase in tank car shipments.

    Myles Ma may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MylesMaNJ. Find on Facebook.


  1. Action Alert: Philadelphia City Council to Vote on Oil Trains March 12th | Protecting Our Waters

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