Report: Oil Trains Threaten 25 Million Americans, Iconic Rivers, Wildlife

Moratorium on ?Bomb? Trains Needed Till Safety Can Be Ensured

PORTLAND, Ore.— As officials probe the two latest explosive oil train derailments in Ontario and West Virginia, the Center for Biological Diversity released a?report?today offering striking new details on the broad range of unchecked risks to people and the environment posed by the largely unregulated escalation in U.S. rail transport of oil.

The report, "Runaway Risks: Oil Trains and the Government's Failure to Protect People, Wildlife and the Environment," reveals that:

  • An estimated 25 million Americans live within the one-mile evacuation zone recommended by the U.S. Department of Transportation;
  • Oil trains routinely pass within a quarter-mile of 3,600 miles of streams and more than 73,000 square miles of lakes, wetlands and reservoirs, including the Hudson, Mississippi and Columbia rivers, the Puget Sound, Lake Champlain and Lake Michigan;
  • Oil trains also go through 34 national wildlife refuges and within a quarter-mile of critical habitat for 57 threatened or endangered species, including the California tiger salamander, California red-legged frog, piping plover, bull trout and several imperiled species of salmon, steelhead and sturgeon.

"As we've seen in West Virginia and Ontario, these oil trains pose a massive danger to people, wildlife and our environment, whether it's trains passing through heavily populated areas or some of our most pristine landscapes," said Jared Margolis, author of the report and an attorney for the Center who focuses on the impacts of energy development on endangered species. "The federal government has failed to provide adequate protection from these bomb trains. We clearly need a moratorium on crude-by-rail until the safety of our communities and the environment can be ensured."

Read more.

Learn more about oil trains.

Contact: Jared Margolis


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Media Contacts:
Mike Stark, Communications Director, (520) 623-5252 ext. 315

Andy Parker, Media Specialist – Endangered Species, (503) 310-5569

Patrick Sullivan, Media Specialist – Climate Change, Fracking, (415) 632-5316

Russ McSpadden, Communications Associate – Media Photos

Banner photo courtesy Flickr/lalo pangue; North Dakota oil train explosion (on report cover) via Occupy Riverwest