Tomorrow is the anniversary of the tragedy in Lac-Mégantic Canada, where a runaway train carrying 72 tankers filled with volatile Bakken oil from the U.S. derailed and killed 47 people.1 It was the worst disaster involving shipment of crude oil by rail -- earning them the disastrous nickname Bomb Trains -- in north American history. But it wasn't the last accident, and these derailments, explosions and pollution will keep happening until there's a federal ban on Bomb Trains.
That's why, starting tomorrow, and for the next week our movement is coming together to do something about it. Will you join us at the 3rd annual Stop Oil Trains Week of Action -- the first events are tomorrow, but dozens are planned all over the United States and Canada during the next week.
Twenty five million Americans live within a bomb-train blast zone -- that's the one mile radius around rail tracks that routinely carry shipments of volatile oil.2 Just a few weeks ago, another one of these trains derailed, in Oregon, igniting a blaze that one of the first responders told Oregon Public Broadcasting "looked like the apocalypse."3
But bomb trains aren't getting more rare, they're getting more frequent and more dangerous. Which is why they've done more damage in the past three years than the previous four decades combined.4
We know that when we stand up and fight back, we win -- against bomb trains and all forms of extreme energy. We've seen it at the Break Free week of actions, when organizers in Washington State and Albany, NY blocked the tracks to obstruct bomb train traffic for hours or days.5 And we've seen it more recently when the Mayor of Portland, the Governor of Washington and the Oregon Department of Transportation joined our call to ban the bomb trains.6
I know you've taken action with us on climate change and fossil fuels before, will you check it out our latest effort? You can RSVP or offer to host an event. Or if you're not able to participate in person, you can chip in to support those who can.
Drew and the Ban the Bomb Trains Crew at Environmental Action
1 - After Lac Mégantic, we thought there’d be fewer runaway trains. We were wrong, The Globe and Mail, May 30, 2016
2 - Blast Zone Map, Forest Ethics
3 - Katie Herzog, Oregon explosion reminds us that oil trains are “weapons of mass destruction”, Grist, June 6, 2016
4 - Samantha Page, The U.S. Has An Oil Train Problem, Think Progress, December 3, 2015
5 - Break Free 2016, May 15, 2016, Tens of Thousands Worldwide Take Part in Largest Global Civil Disobedience in the History of the Climate Movement
6 - Hillary Borrud, Oregon calls for indefinite moratorium on oil trains through the state, The Oregonian/OregonLive, June 16, 2016
- Rob Davis, Portland mayor to Gov. Kate Brown: Say no to more oil trains, The Oregonian/OregonLive, June 14, 2016