Protesting crude oil trains in Plattsburgh

WCAX | July 5, 2014 | Column by Logan Crawford

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. -A protest in Plattsburgh brought dozens of concerned community members together Saturday, speaking out against trains carrying crude oil. The protest comes on the year anniversary of a deadly accident north of the border.

"There was a derailment and an explosion that killed 47 people in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. So we are commemorating that event and bearing witness to the loss of the lives there," says Mollie Matteson, of the Center for Biological Diversity

The group demands the end of oil trains in the Adirondacks. Activists say these trains present serious dangers to the communities the trains go through.

"Carrying very explosive fuel, when they do derail they can explode and cause huge fires. So that's the first concern. The second concern is they can spill a lot of oil. In fact more oil has been spilled from these crude oil trains in the last year than in the last 40 years combined," says Matteson.

A major part of the rally is to protest the use of crude oil altogether. But as some North Country residents point out, for now it's needed to heat homes and fuel cars.

"How else are they going to transport this, a vehicle like a truck which is more dangerous? What is the alternative to transporting it, we need it. You can protest it but we still need crude oil," says Jason Ormsby of Plattsburgh.

But protestors on this day are not focusing on that fact. Instead, they are trying to gain support for a petition they are sending to Congress. The goal: to stop the crude oil trains from passing through Plattsburgh and the rest of the North Country.

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PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy
PAUSE is a grassroots group of individuals who have come together to promote safe, sustainable energy and fight for environmental justice. We engage the greater public to stop the fossil fuel industry’s assault on the people of Albany and our environment.