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Bomb Trains Secretly Rolling Through Chicago?

Posted by Admin On July - 10 - 2014

Candlelight Vigil is planned for the Pilsen neighborhood today, Thursday, July 10th, from 8 – 9:30pm

CHICAGO, IL— A year after the oil rail explosion killing 47 people at Lac-Mégantic, local groups are worried Chicago may be vulnerable as well.  Joining a national mobilization to commemorate the tragic explosion in Quebec, concerned residents are questioning the secrecy surrounding the route of so-called “bomb” trains through the region, trains that carry the highly explosive Bakken crude oil.

A Candlelight Vigil is planned for the Pilsen neighborhood, today, Thursday, July 10th, from 8 – 9:30pm, to highlight the dangers of explosive and corrosive oil by rail transport through Chicago and to demand information on bomb trains rolling through area neighborhoods.  It will be held at the BSNF Terminal on Western Ave. and 16th St., Chicago.

“At a time when the urgency for climate action is at its greatest in history, we cannot fall into the oil industry’s distracting debates on the ‘best methods’ to transport fossil fuels,” states Debra Michaud, organizer with Tar Sands Free Midwest.  “As our movement has blocked climate-killing pipelines across North America, big oil has moved at an alarming rate to transport oil by rail. Yet despite dozens of oil train disasters, the oil industry is seeking to dramatically expand oil by rail in the US and in Canada,” Michaud notes.

“Lac-Mégantic’s disaster is a grim reminder to us all: Big Oil will persist in extracting, transporting, and burning every drop of oil they can find. No matter the risk, no matter the cost to public health, safety, and the climate, the oil industry will take every opportunity to profit,” asserts Dr. Lora Chamberlain, coordinator for Frack Free Illinois.

Pilsen and Little Village, in south central Chicago, are two communities at risk of “bomb trains.” Located in the middle of these densely populated neighborhoods is the Western Ave. Railway Terminal and the rail lines leading into it, where black tank cars with the dreaded “Hazard 1267” placard have been observed.

“We have observed oil tank cars in the vicinity of the BSNF Terminal on Western Ave. and 16th St., in Pilsen. We are alarmed that the residents of the surrounding neighborhoods have not been notified of the risks of the Oil by Rail in their backyards by agencies under the direction of Gov. Quinn and Mayor Emanuel,” Kim Wasserman, director for the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) points out.  LVEJO was a lead organization in the closure of the Crawford and Fisk coal fired power stations in Little Village and Pilsen.

The organizations and community want to know from  Gov. Quinn and Mayor Emanuel whether or not explosive and corrosive oil trains are going through neighborhoods in and around Chicago, and which neighborhoods are involved.  They also want to know what emergency and evacuation plans have been developed in case of an explosion along these rail lines, and which state and local agencies are responsible for implementing those plans.

“Illinois communities deserve to know the risks and dangers of oil transported by rail lines in their back yards.  We are calling on Gov. Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel to release oil train maps and emergency plans to residents throughout Illinois who live in the Blast Zones, Potential Impact Zones and Evacuation Zones,” Michaud said.

“Now we say NO MORE!  No more exploding frack oil trains. No more tar sands. No more reckless endangerment of our communities and our climate!” said Gloria Fallon of Rising Tide Chicago.

Organizational Sponsors:  Frack Free Illinois, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, Tar Sands Free Midwest, Rising Tide Chicago, Nuclear Energy Information Service

Further Information:

Wall Street Journal: North Dakota Fracking: Behind the Oil-Train Explosions: Volatile Gases Aren’t Removed From Bakken Shale Crude; ‘The Regulations Are Silent'”

Mother Jones: Why Do These Train Cars Carrying Oil Keep Blowing Up? Millions of gallons of crude oil are being shipped across the country in “the Ford Pinto of rail cars.”

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