Community leaders and advocates call on the Secretary of Transportation to ban use of hazardous rail cars to ship explosive crude oil
July 15, 2014
Washington, D.C. —
Today, two national environmental organizations filed a formal legal petition to compel the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation to issue an emergency order prohibiting the use of hazardous rail cars—known as DOT-111s—for shipping flammable Bakken crude oil. (See FAQ sheet for more info on petition.) The National Transportation Safety Board has repeatedly found that the DOT-111 tank cars are prone to puncture on impact, spilling oil and often triggering destructive fires and explosions. The Safety Board has made official recommendations to stop shipping crude oil in these hazardous tank cars, but the federal regulators have not heeded these pleas. (See quote sheet of on-record statements by public officials for more information.)
“These oil tankers have been called the Ford Pinto of the rails,” said Ben Stuckart, City Council president in Spokane, Washington.“National Transportation Board members, U.S. Senators, and local officials are all on record on the danger of these antiquated, unsafe rail cars. It’s long past time for the government to take action to protect communities like mine.” Officials estimate between 13 and 16 oil trains a week come through Spokane, a major hub for rail traffic, although those numbers would skyrocket if planned oil terminals on the West Coast are built. Spokane is one of many towns across the country that has seen an organized and strong community opposition to these trains.
Read more at earthjustice.org