Oil trains threaten city neighborhoods
A recent editorial pointed out that the fossil fuels industry is willing to put our communities at risk for the sake of maintaining its bottom line (“About that clean coal business,” Oct. 11).
This reality is apparent in Baltimore as the oil industry puts our city at risk of an oil train explosion.
In our own backyards, trains full of Bakken crude oil rumble along our aging tracks on a daily basis. There have already been several derailments in Baltimore City.
In June, a CSX train derailed near Bolton Hill. And in 2001 an 11-car derailment in the Howard Street Tunnel shut down the city, causing millions of dollars in economic losses.
None of the derailments in Baltimore have involved trains carrying Bakken crude oil, which has been described as being as flammable as gasoline.
Other municipalities, however, have not been as lucky. In 2013, the derailment of a train carrying Bakken crude oil in Quebec turned a small town into a fiery inferno that claimed 47 lives.
As a concerned citizen, I have chosen to work alongside a number of local environmental and civic groups to protect the estimated 165,000 Baltimore City residents who live in areas that would be directly impacted if a train derailed and exploded.
On Nov. 1, the Baltimore City Council’s Judiciary Committee will hear Ordinance 16-0621, a common-sense measure that would require health, safety, and environmental studies of oil trains in Baltimore.
I urge other concerned citizens to contact their council members and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to support this ordinance and also to attend the committee hearing at 10 a.m. at City Hall.
The passage of this ordinance will send a loud and clear message that residents of Baltimore City value a safe, clean and livable future over profits and commerce.