With big oil companies planning to massively increase crude oil and tar sands trains, this is a serious and growing threat to the safety of communities across the U.S.
Astonishingly, federal regulators have known since 1991 that the most common railway tanker car – known as the DOT-111 – is prone to rupture and explode during derailments. Yet regulators have largely sat on their hands.
In the wake of the Lac-Megantic tragedy, the Department of Transportation is now accepting public comments on rail car safety. Our current system is anything but safe – and it's time for the DOT to take the dangerous DOT-111 train cars off the rails.
Submit a comment to the Department of Transportation: Protect our communities from dangerous oil trains.
Lac-Megantic wasn’t the first oil tanker train explosion, or even the most recent. In fact, earlier this month 13 tanker cars carrying liquefied petroleum and crude oil derailed and exploded in Alberta, Canada. In 2009, 13 tanker cars ruptured and caught fire after a derailment in Cherry Valley, Illinois, killing one person and injuring nine, including two firefighters.
The DOT-111 has been called “the Ford Pinto” of the railways, because, like the car that was pulled from the roads in the early 70’s, DOT-111’s have a “high incidence of tank failures during accidents.”
With oil companies looking to expand on the already-booming oil production in the Alberta tar sands and the Bakken formation in North Dakota, they are relying on these unsafe rail cars to bring their oil to refineries and coastal shipping ports. But we can’t let them continue to endanger communities with rail tanker cars that are known to have serious safety problems.
Removing these dangerous tankers from our railroads – and ensuring that the replacements are built to higher standards - is only one way that the Department of Transportation can take action to improve rail safety. The agency should also enforce speed limits on trains, reschedule trains from running through communities at peak times, and alert communities when these trains will be moving through.
Tell the Department of Transportation: Protect our communities from the dangerous DOT-111 tanker train car. Submit a comment now.
Thanks for taking a stand against dangerous oil trains.
Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
2. "Rail safety advocate calls DOT-111 the ‘Ford Pinto’ of rail cars," Bangor Daily News, 8/28/13