When oil trains derail we all pay the price. How close are you and your family to a disaster waiting to happen? Use the blast zone map below to find out and take action.
Millions of Americans live in the blast zone. Do you?
Every day the oil industry sends millions of gallons of highly flammable crude oil through cities and towns across North America. Our rail system was never built for this dangerous cargo.
It’s time to take action! Sign the petition: Tell the President and Congress to stop the threat of oil train disasters today!
To: President Obama
Re: Your administration’s final rules on the transportation of hazardous materials by rail
The Department of Transportation’s new safety rules on the rail transport of hazardous materials fail to protect communities, the climate, and critical water supplies. Over the last several years the oil and rail industries have brought the growing threat of hazardous, flammable oil trains into the Main Streets and downtowns of millions of Americans — with more than 25 million living in the blast zone.
President Obama, please take immediate action to protect all Americans by doing the following:
* First and foremost, ban giant oil trains: Stop allowing the use of “high hazard flammable trains” and the new category of “high hazard flammable unit trains.” There is no excuse for threatening Americans with 100+ tank cars per train or more of highly flammable, explosive crude oil. DOT should limit the number of tank cars of flammable fluids that can be placed in the same train to fewer than 20–and stop the mass transport of oil by rail entirely.
For the small amounts of oil that need to be moved by rail, please also make the following changes to the regulations. The safety of communities along the rail lines depends on your strong action to:
* Immediately forbid antiquated tank cars: Ban the use of old model tank cars for flammable fluids immediately: most flammable fluids are transported in 1970s era cars called DOT-111s, and a more recent iteration called the CPC-1232. The use of these cars to carry flammables should be halted immediately.
* Let communities say no: Railroads use a series of variables to determine route choices for hazardous materials, including the new category of “high hazard flammable trains,” but they never ask us if it’s okay. They should use an additional variable: whether or not they have our permission. US DOT says it’s outside of their authority–but we still deserve that right
* Notify communities: Communities and first responders should be automatically notified and warned about all hazardous materials coming through downtowns, waterways and sensitive places — not forced to beg for information. The new rules keep information secret from all but the highest level response committees. Route choices should be disclosed to every community on the tracks. Right now, railroads are trying to keep these routes secret.
* Require the best brakes: ECP brakes should be required on ALL hazmat tank cars, not just those slated for giant oil trains. Three million gallons of explosive liquids per train needs to be able to stop in a hurry.
* Speed limits: The faster the train, the higher the danger. Hazardous materials should only be moved at a speed where tank cars will not puncture during a derailment; with the new tank car standards, that means under 20 mph. PHMSA ignores States, the NTSB, and first responders by allowing reckless speeds everywhere but “High Threat Urban Areas”–and even there, the speed limits are more than double the puncture velocity of the new tank car standards.
* New tank car standards: New tank cars should be designed to not rupture in the event of a derailment at maximum operating speeds and include thermal protection should, as often happens in derailments, they end up in a pool of fire. They also need protection for external fittings to ensure they don’t shear off in accidents.
* Degasification and volatility: Bakken crude and diluted bitumen carried in oil trains is much more volatile compared to most other crude oils. Like Bakken, diluting agents used to thin tar sands can be extremely problematic. Oil and tar sands transporters should be required to take immediate steps to reduce this volatility by removing diluents and explosive gases from these cargoes.
* Real oversight and enforcement: The railroads’ self-policing isn’t working, and regulatory oversight is broken. Independent oversight, enforcement, and oversight of the enforcement is a minimum requirement for ensuring railroads follow the rules.
Mr. President. The lives of millions of Americans are jeopardized by the dangerous transport of oil through our communities. Please take action now to avert the next tragedy.