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Action Alert: Philadelphia City Council to Vote on Oil Trains March 12th

March 11, 2015

You’ve seen them: the mile-long trains with black cylindrical cars full of fracked Bakken Shale oil, coming through Philadelphia neighborhoods, snaking along next to and over the Schuylkill River, mere yards from I-76 and I-95 in places. Every one of them is a potential disaster for residents, railway and emergency workers, and for the City of Philadelphia.

We’ve had enough!  Tomorrow, Philadelphia City Council will finally vote on pressing the feds to ban the unsafe rail cars (and more: details below). Action in Philly can help provoke municipalities large and small all over America, where 25 million people are at risk from oil bomb trains, to act. So help us all make sure Philly does the right thing Thursday!

What: City Council Vote on Oil Trains Resolution #150129

When: Thursday, March 12, 10:00 am (it’s first on the agenda)

Where: Philadelphia City Hall, Broad and Market Streets, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Sign up: Arrive at 9:45 AM with photo ID and sign up in Room 400 to give public comment.(If you arrive late, you can still speak when asked whether anyone else wishes to speak. But please come on time to maximize the power of our presence!)

Bring small paper signs to hold up: “YES on oil train resolution” “STOP the oil train madness” “Oil trains kill!” “Protect Our People / Water / Climate / Safety: No Exploding Oil Trains!”

Please call and write to thank Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and call your City Councilperson to say “Vote Yes” for the Protect Philadelphia oil train resolution – No. 150129.  See Delaware Riverkeeper’s Action Alert here

Background:  Protecting Our Waters calls for a complete moratorium on oil trains, for climateas well as safety reasons. It’s absurd: at least four oil-by-rail derailments and fires in four weeks– two in Ontario, one in West Virginia and one in Illinois. As if the derailments in Lac-Megantic; in Aliceville, AL; Casselton, ND; and Lynchburg, VA weren’t already enough! While we join Center for Biological Diversity and others in standing for a complete moratorium — which City Council’s resolution will not support — we nonetheless urge you strongly to support Resolution 150129 because:

Councilman Kenyatta Johnson’s resolution calls for banning the unsafe tank cars transporting highly volatile and flammable Bakken crude through Philadelphia; for public disclosure of train schedules and crude by rail movements through the City; and for community meetings by the Office of Emergency Management to share information about emergency response plans if a crude-by-rail fire and/or spill occur. (What is the evacuation plan? Evacuation zones in many of the Bakken crude disasters so far have been one to five miles due to toxic smoke as well as fire.)

Note: PennEnvironment’s report, Danger Around the Bend: The Threat of Oil Trains in Pennsylvania shows that 710,000 Philadelphians live within the evacuation zone of oil train routes. You can also use their action alert to communicate with City Council online: Tell your Councilperson to support these critical protections before the vote.

In case you missed it: Our Coalition put out a press release after the West Virginia derailment and fireball February 16th (but before the Illinois and Ontario derailments and fires last week.) View it here: Catastrophic Oil Train Derailment in West Virginia is an Accident Waiting to Happen in Philadelphia.

Enough with the fireballs. Enough with rivers on fire. Enough with people fleeing from their homes and barely escaping with their lives. Enough with the climate damage. Enough with Philadelphia Energy Solutions — aka Philadelphia Energy Suicide — playing fast and loose with our lives, while harming North Dakota residents hurt by the fracking and flaring. PES brings more risk, more asthma, more flaring, more emissions and more climate damage every day with every oil bomb train.

Protect Philadelphia from Dangerous Oil Trains! Make your voice count.

Tell City Council to Pass Resolution 150129 on March 12th! 

Pssst: Remember: Rebut the use of oil train explosions as an argument for more dirty, dangerous, climate-damaging, water-polluting fossil fuel pipelines. Pipelines spill more than oil trains. Pipelines also explode. The answer is “none of the above.” We need to keep 4/5ths of all known oil and gas reserves in the ground to protect climate. Yes to: energy efficiency, reduced consumption, ending war (U.S. military is world’s biggest user of oil), sustainable agriculture, and renewable energy! 

Ann, Iris, Claudia, Ana, Steve, Marta, and all the POW Organizers

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