Rash of oil train explosions demand immediate remedies (Editorial)

Syracuse Post-Standard | May 4, 2014 | Editorial Board

Cheers to Sen. Charles Schumer and Gov. Andrew Cuomo for pushing hard for full disclosure and improved oversight of crude oil transport trains that send up to 300 cars a day through the heart of Syracuse.

Firefighters and rescue workers work along the tracks where several CSX tanker cars carrying crude oil derailed and caught fire along the James River near downtown in Lynchburg, Va., Wednesday. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Schumer wants the federal Department of Transportation to require rail companies to tell local officials and emergency personnel about the hazardous materials carried by freight trains.

Cuomo wants President Obama to take immediate action to improve railway safety. He included a copy of New York's new crude oil transportation safety report, a 113-page document prepared by five state agencies as ordered by Cuomo in January. The report suggested 10 federal actions to improve safety.

As if their arguments needed emphasis, within hours of Schumer's statement and Cuomo's letter a train carrying crude oil crashed and exploded in downtown Lynchburg, Va.

Schumer and Cuomo are right on this issue. There have been more train explosions in the past year than in the previous 40 combined.

And you can agree or disagree on the extraction of oil from tar sands in the Midwest. But this has nothing to do with that. This is about one thing: Doing the most possible to ensure that waterways and people are protected against derailments and explosions.


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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.