Every week tens of millions of gallons of explosive Bakken crude oil is transported in outdated train tanker cars over aging rail infrastructure from Montreal, Quebec to Albany, New York. An oil train derailment along Lake Champlain or the Hudson River could be devastating to the region's people, wildlife, and natural resources.
The Bakken crude oil that is transported by rail along Lake Champlain and the Hudson River is exceptionally explosive. Moreover, tar sands oil, which oil companies would also like to move along this route, is both explosive and nearly impossible to clean up once spilled. The rail line from Montreal to Albany travels directly along the western shores of Lake Champlain, through dozens of vulnerable New York downtowns and communities. The rail line also travels across the Hudson River and many other waterways before ending at a port in Albany on the Hudson - passing neighborhoods, schools, and businesses on its way. The tracks on which these trains travel are aging in many areas, while rail bridges date from post-Civil War through the Eisenhower era. Though these bridges are inspected by rail companies, inspection findings are not released to the public.
Shipping oil along our rails risks irreplaceable human life and the health of invaluable natural resources that provide important habitat. As long as we continue to use the Montreal to Albany rail line for oil transport, we risk:
Oil train transportation along Lake Champlain and the Hudson River must be stopped by Congressional action. There is currently no safe way to transport oil by trains. The threat is imminent, and no community can afford a tragedy like that of the horrific 2013 Lac-Mégantic oil train derailment that killed 47 people and incinerated the downtown in an enormous explosion. We should be using our rail system for reducing our dependence on fossil fuels—not for increasing fossil fuel consumption—by efficiently transporting safe commodities, and people, in trains.
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