Hazardous Freight Trains Warrant Improved Rail Safety Legislation

citizensActingRailSafetyClaire Ruebeck, Citizens Acting for Rail Safety- Twin Cities

Trains carrying explosive crude oil, ethanol and other toxic chemicals traverse our communities daily, crossing environmentally sensitive areas, drinking water sources and critical wildlife habitat. Railroads are exempt from Minnesota’s Emergency Planning Community Right to Know Act, which means emergency planners do not have needed analysis information related to hazardous freight trains.

In January 2015, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety reported on Minnesota’s Preparedness for an Oil Transportation Incident and identified worrisome lack of coordination between railroads, state agencies and first responders. Over a year later, Minnesota emergency planners testified that information on hazardous trains is still not forth coming from the railroads.

Pipelines won’t reduce the risk of transporting hazardous materials by rail but sensible legislation, such as HF3698/SF3352, has merit as it would ensure emergency planners have access to necessary information, add needed rail inspectors and promote railroad accountability for catastrophic train incidents. Urge Minnesota state legislators to support this initiative – it may save lives.

Citizens Acting for Rail Safety- Twin Cities is a non-partisan, grass-roots advocacy group that works with the public, legislators, and agency officials to improve rail safety to benefit the health, safety, and security of people, wildlife and the environment.  We formed in response to the exponential growth of oil and ethanol transportation by rail over the last few years. CARS-Twin Cities strives to bring the citizen voice to bear on the issues associated with high hazard freight trains going through our communities.  Learn more at www.saferails.org and follow us on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/saferailstwincities

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