I’m very concerned about the dangerous railroad tanker cars traveling through our towns every day carrying Bakken crude oil. These same cars derailed in Lac-Megantic (Canada) two years ago, killing 47 people with fires and contamination. They are literally like bombs. And our Department of Transportation’s allowing these same cars to carry crude oil for another three years through my small town and many others in the Northwest.
We seem to be naively waiting for another tragedy. The toothless new federal safety requirements for trains hauling this oil allow railroads to use retrofit tank cars designed without thicker shells to reduce punctures and leaks. They reduce speed limits only in urban areas. Apparently no one else along the routes of these dangerous trains matters.
Human lives should rank above railroad profits. The DOT has given railroads generous timelines for upgrading the safety of these hazardous cars, and still the railroads sue for more time. It’s obvious neither the railroad industry nor the DOT will take steps to protect human life, our drinking water and our environment. Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell’s Crude-By-Rail Safety Act of 2015 takes 37,000 unsafe cars off the rails immediately. I hope Idaho’s senators back this bill.
Carol Wilburn, Sandpoint
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