UPDATE: The White House finally acts on Bomb Trains, and their answer: Let them roll, with slightly better breaks in a few years. Sign here to tell the White House and Dept. of Transportation this is way to little, way too late - we need a ban on Bomb Trains NOW and to leave fossil fuels in the ground.
The Obama administration has finally responded to our call to protect our environment and our communities from fiery derailments -- so called Bomb Trains -- like the ones that killed dozens of people in a small Canadian town and have rattled U.S. communities from North Dakota to West Virgina.1
But the joint U.S.-Canadian announcement today does nowhere near enough to protect people or the planet. In fact, as Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, one of our legislative champs calling for a crackdown on shipments of oil by rail, said: "[DOT’s action] is just like saying let the oil trains roll … It does nothing to address explosive volatility, very little to reduce the threat of ... the most dangerous cars.”
Sign here to tell the Obama team this is much too little, much too late. We need a ban on bomb trains NOW!
Since 2008 there has been a 4,000 percent increase in shipments of volatile crude oil by rail.1 But Secretary Foxx at the Department of Transportation (DOT) decided to take the slow-line to improvements in safety. DOT's new rules require slightly better breaks to be phased in gradually over the next five years, slower speed limits, and tougher tank cars with thicker walls to be made made after Oct. 1, 2015.2
But those improvements will take years to have any impact on the thousands and thousands of cars of explosive, polluting, utterly unnecessary extreme oil we're already shipping. And not one of the DOT's proposed changes will solve the root of the problem for our climate -- namely leaving the dangerous bakken crude and tar sands oil in the ground, where it belongs.
Fortunately, Senators like Cantwell and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin are forging ahead with plans to fight these weak rules in the Senate. And we've still got time to convince the Obama White house that Bomb Trains fail the safety test, as well as the carbon test, before it's too late.
But now that the rules are out, it's essential we mobilize a rapid response. Click here to sign on now and tell everyone you know - the DOT's new rules on Bomb Trains aren't the solution - banning extreme energy extraction is.
Drew and the ban the bomb train crew
1 - Elana Schor and Kathryn A. Wolfe, DOT issues final rules on flammable oil trains, Politico 5/1/15
2 - Enhanced Tank Car Standards and Operational Controls for High-Hazard Flammable Trains, 5/1/15