Tougher standards are needed for tanker cars

Times Union | March 30, 2014 | LTE by Susan Weber

Robert Mitchell’s excellent commentary (“Oil trains present imminent danger,” March 22) laid out the dangers for all to see of what may be the biggest story of the decade: The emergence of Albany as a major national hub for shipping crude and Bakken oil.

Mr. Mitchell asks, “Who will protect us in the event of a spill or explosion?” The answer is no one can protect us. There is no protection from, or sufficient emergency response to, a catastrophic event like the explosion in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. Forty-seven people burned to death. Whole city blocks were leveled. The railroad and oil company deny liability or declare bankruptcy. Last year, 1.15 million gallons of crude spilled. Still, the companies argue, “What could go wrong?”

I was driving south along Interstate 787 and saw hundreds of potentially explosive DOT-111 tanker cars within feet of residences and the Hudson River. It’s only a matter of time.

Not one more trainload of flammable, explosive Bakken crude or heavy, viscous tar sands crude should be shipped through our communities unless and until all tanker cars are brought up to standard for transporting hazardous crude, all rail lines are upgraded and safe, and rules are imposed to remove the explosive gases from before shipment. Until then, just leave it in the ground.

Perhaps, the hazards and costs of these extreme forms of fossil fuel, together with the undeniable fact of catastrophic fossil-fueled global climate change, will finally bring government to see the obvious: We need safe, sustainable and sane energy resource development, and the time for it is now.

Susan Weber

Member of PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy

Albany

http://blog.timesunion.com/opinion/tougher-standards-are-needed-for-tanker-cars/28433/

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PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy
PAUSE works to promote safe, sustainable energy and environmental justice.  We aim to engage the greater public to stop the fossil fuel industry's assault on the people of Albany and our environment.