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What People Are Saying About Rail Safety and Oil

The fireball that followed the derailment and explosion of two trains, one carrying Bakken crude oil, on December 30, 2013, outside Casselton, N.D.

The fireball that followed the derailment and explosion of two trains, one carrying Bakken crude oil, on December 30, 2013, outside Casselton, ND.

U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

DOT-111s are the “Ford Pinto of railroad cars.” — Karen Darch, Village President, Barrington, Illinois. (Chicago Tribune)

“We are very clear that this issue needs to be acted on very quickly. There is a very high risk here that hasn't been addressed. They aren't moving fast enough. We don't need a higher body count before they move forward.” — Former National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman. (Huffington Post)

“I strongly urge industry to follow this new safety alert and immediately begin phasing out the use of DOT-111 rail cars for shipping crude oil. But we cannot rely on voluntary industry action alone to protect the safety of New Yorkers, and the Administration must finish its work to implement a final rule to permanently ban the shipment of crude oil on DOT-111 cars.” — U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D.N.Y.) (Source)

“Clearly, the heads and shells of DOT-111 tank cars…can almost always be expected to breach in derailments that involve pileups or multiple car-to-car impacts.” — National Transportation Safety Board, June 19, 2009. (Source)

“Based on previous and ongoing NTSB accident investigations, the documented poor accident performance of existing specification DOT-111 tank cars continues to raise serious concerns about the safety of communities, emergency responders, and other individuals who may come in contact with flammable hazardous materials transported in these cars... [R]ecent railroad accidents have shown that using DOT-111 tank cars to ship flammable liquids creates an unacceptable public risk.” — National Transportation Safety Board, Dec. 5, 2013. (NTSB)

“There is not currently enough available coverage in the commercial insurance market anywhere in the world to cover the worst-case [train derailment] scenario.” — James Beardsley, global rail practice leader for Marsh & McLennan Cos.’ insurance brokerage unit. (Wall Street Journal)

“We need better cars for the freight rails. They’re using the wrong cars for these oil shipments. We know they’re not safe. We need to replace those immediately.” — U.S. Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (D.N.Y.) (WAMC Radio)

“The number and type of petroleum crude oil railroad accidents described below that have occurred during the last year is startling, and the quantity of petroleum crude oil spilled as a result of those accidents is voluminous in comparison to past precedents.” — U.S. Department of Transportation, May 7, 2014. (US DOT)

“The history of railroads in America has been one where things generally don’t get corrected until people die. And that is frightening to me.” — Herb Krohn, legislative director for the United Transportation Union. (Earthfix)

“Should an incident occur within or near a densely populated area … an incident … has the potential to be truly catastrophic and result in billions of dollars in personal injury and property damage claims. The damages potentially resulting from an exposure could risk the financial soundness and viability of the rail transportation network in North America.”— Association of American Railroads, January 2014. (Canadian Transportation Agency)

“If anything goes wrong, we would be very, very, very vulnerable. We hate to even think about anything going wrong and we hope that there’s a moratorium put on these trains until we get these cars refitted.” — Steve Massey, city councilman in Rainier, Oregon. (Earthfix)

Making it voluntary isn’t going far enough … As you can see the train route goes through every major city in the Northwest. All across my state, people are having this debate in their local communities. What’s happening is an explosion of product through this area and not the right response and safety regulations. So, we are urging a mandatory date for getting rid of these DOT-111 cars and a mandatory rule on safety.” — U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D. Wa.) (Source)

“If you’re in areas where they’re going 40, 50 miles an hour, you’re really rolling the dice because if the car derails, the car’s not designed for that.” —Albert Ratner, University of Iowa associate professor of mechanical engineering. (KCRG)

“I want to know how much oil will be shipped through my state and how we can be assured the kind of tragedy that happened in Quebec won’t devastate families in our communities. The federal government plays a significant role in regulating these trains, but we as a state can and will do more to make sure we’re protecting our cities and residents.” — Washington Governor Jay Inslee. (Seattle Pi)

“[T]he derailment of trains carrying [Bakken] crude could have devastating impacts to environmentally sensitive areas in Oregon and to human life… I am writing to express my concern and frustration at the amount of time it is taking to update tank car standards and institute other safety measures to ensure the safest transport possible of volatile crude coming out of the Bakken region.” — Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, in a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. (Source)

“Right now, there is so much uncertainty that people aren’t going to make investments in safer cars and they’re going to keep running these crummy cars and killing people,” — U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio (D-Or). (EarthFix)

“Mr. President, we cannot wait for another devastating derailment and explosion to happen here that will force us into action. The time to act is now.” — U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D. W.Va.) (Miami Herald)

I’m calling for the immediate ban of DOT-111 tank cars. … Every day, these tank cars carry hazardous materials without adequate regulations, jeopardizing our families’ health and safety.” — N.Y. Assemblyman James Skoufis. (Source)