News Release


Galena Oil Train Explosion a Call for Action

Statement from Illinois PIRG Director Abe Scarr
For Immediate Release

"As the images from Galena attest, the increasingly common practice of transporting crude oil by rail poses a significant risk to the health, well-being, and safety of our communities. The U.S. Department of Transportation recently predicted 10 crude oil train derailments per year for the next twenty years, leading to possible damages in the billions and deaths in the hundreds. With an estimated 40 crude oil trains traveling through the Chicago area each week and more through countless smaller communities around Illinois, the time for reform is now.

"No more oil trains should travel through Illinois until increased safety measure are in place and there is an approved emergency response plan for the entire route. At a very minimum, information including oil train routes, timing, and number of cars should be more readily available to local community leaders and the public. While energy and rail companies have said that sharing this information poses a security threat, the U.S. Department of Transportation has stated that they found “no basis to conclude that the public disclosure of the information [about oil train routes] is detrimental to transportation safety.”

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