The dangers of transporting crude oil by rail are now well known following high profile and fiery derailments in Lynchburg, Virginia; Fayette County, West Virginia; and tragically, Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. Trains carrying highly flammable Bakken crude travel daily from McKeesport upstream along the Youghiogheny River to Confluence and then upstream along the Casselman River en route to Cumberland, MD. These trains travel through the communities of Connellsville, Ohiopyle, Confluence, Rockwood and many others. Often over a mile long and with placards marked “1267,” bomb trains endanger nearby residents– and rivers.
Do you live in the half-mile evacuation zone if an oil train derails in your community? According to a new Public Source analysis one in nine Pennsylvania residents live within this evacuation zone and could be at risk if a train carrying crude oil derails nearby and catches fire. The folks at Public Source have created a map showing the evacuation zone as well as hospitals and schools along these bomb train routes. Take a look here.
Yesterday, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced legislation that would strengthen safety standards for trains carrying crude oil. Ask your Senator to support the Crude by Rail Safety Act of 2015 to better protect communities (and rivers!!!) along the tracks.