FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – JULY 10
MEDIA RELEASE: Rally/Teach-In at Exposition Park/Jessie Brewer Jr Park Near Natural History Museum of LA County Highlights Public Opposition to Dangerous Oil Trains
As Los Angeles implements a more sustainable vision of our future and our Los Angeles River, danger rides the rails into our city. Meanwhile, a movement across North America has gained steam to ban dangerous oil trains.
[Los Angeles, CA] On July 10, Los Angeles will join in with the vigils and protests in 60 US and Canadian cities on the third anniversary of the fatal oil train derailment and fire in Lac Megantic, Quebec. A week of activities began in Washington, DC on July 6, where groups delivered a letter to President Obama from 125 public officials and public interest groups, including SoCal 350 Climate Action and Tar Sands Action Southern California. Public interest groups involved in the Stop Oil Trains Week of Action, organized by Stand.earth, are calling for a ban on oil trains.
“We are asking President Obama to stand up for communities’ right to say no to deadly oil trains,” says Matt Krogh, Stand extreme oil campaign director. “We don’t need any of the explosive Bakken or tar sands crude that moves by train – we export ten times more oil than we move by train every day. Oil trains add nothing to our energy security, but they directly threaten the safety of our homes, our schools and our drinking water.”
“Big Oil has a plan to bring toxic and volatile oil ‘bomb’ trains right into California urban neighborhoods, across sensitive wetland areas and rivers, and along the Pacific Coast,” said Jack Eidt, Steering Committee Organizer for SoCal 350 Climate Action. “In particular, the concern about a Phillips 66 proposal to bring mile long oil tanker trains, each carrying 2.4 million gallons of flammable, explosive petroleum, across California and possibly through the L.A. Basin up to five times a week inspired the L.A. City Council to officially oppose the project. But San Luis Obispo County already has conditionally approved the project, so we must make our voice louder to stop it now!”
Events mapped on the Stop Oil Trains Week of Action website included a vigil before a city council meeting in Mosier, Oregon, where an oil train derailed and exploded on Friday, June 3. The Mosier oil train fire brought renewed national attention to the danger of oil trains. Oregon officials, including the Mosier mayor and fire chief, the state Department of Transportation, and Oregon Governor Kate Brown have called for an immediate moratorium on oil trains in the Columbia River Gorge.
“After the recent oil train derailment in Mosier, we are fully committed to do all that we can to prevent oil trains from moving through the Columbia River Gorge,” said Arlene Burns Mayor of Mosier, OR. “The Gorge is a federally protected National Scenic Area and a major salmon fishery of four Native tribes, we’re prone to high winds in fire season, landslides in the rainy season — All conditions that make the transport of crude oil by train unthinkable. No communities in the Gorge or beyond should have to bear this risk.”
In 2014, Stand (formerly ForestEthics) released the blast zone map and created the Crude Awakening Network to raise awareness of the threat from oil trains and organize opposition to oil trains across North America. In November 2015 the Crude Awakening Network met for the first time in Pittsburgh, PA, and today counts more than 225 participants.
“We’re working with partners in cities and towns across North America,” says Alex Ramel, Stand campaigner. “Oil companies and government are making decisions on new oil train terminals at refineries across the country. But, wherever Big Oil tries to expand, communities across the US and Canada are organizing, and winning. We’ve stopped new oil train terminals and fought to keep extreme oil in the ground — for our health, our safety, and our climate.”
The 2016 Stop Oil Trains Week of Action is organized around seven principles:
- Communities have the right to know and the right to say no to oil trains. Oil companies are failing to share information about oil train routes with emergency responders, elected officials, and the public. This must end. And with our lives, our homes, and our livelihood at stake, communities must have the power to say no to dangerous oil trains.
- Oil trains are too dangerous for the rails. The extreme oil that moves by train is dirty, explosive Bakken and tar sands crude. Railways were designed to connect communities — that’s why rails run through the downtown of our cities and towns.
- We need to stop new oil train projects. New oil train onloading and offloading terminals will lock in decades of extreme oil train traffic, threaten more communities along the rails, and increase pollution near refineries.
- There is no emergency response. Fire fighters cannot douse a single burning tank car, that’s why oil trains burn for days after a derailment, spill and fire.
- We need strong safety laws. Federal law is weak. No oil train is safe, but the federal government must take every step to ensure that any oil train that does run is as safe as possible. That includes resisting industry efforts to reduce crew sizes. Oil and rail should not be allowed to cut costs and cut corners when it comes to mile-long, multi-million gallon trains of explosive crude.
- Oil trains contribute to environmental injustice. In 2014 Stand calculated that 25 million Americans live in the oil train blast zone. But that risk is not evenly spread among Americans. Communities of color that already face the greatest environmental injustice are also at the highest risk from oil trains, with 60% of census blocks in the blast zone potentially qualifying as environmental justice communities.
- Clean energy is 100% possible.The extreme crude moving on trains is a tiny amount of our supply. We simply don’t need it. And at a time when clean energy is cheaper and more available than ever, and when the urgency of stopping carbon pollution has never been higher, it’s time to stop extreme oil in its tracks.
PETITION to LA County to Stop Oil Trains: http://bit.ly/24GwLRr
Stand.earth (formerly ForestEthics) leads the fight to protect people, our environment and the climate from destructive logging and extreme oil.
SoCal 350 Climate envisions a healthy climate by empowering our communities through a fossil free future with environmental justice for all.