Prevent an Explosive Oil Train Derailment

Target: US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx

Goal: Protect our communities from unsafe and explosive oil trains.

Last summer, a 72-car oil train in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec derailed and exploded, in a conflagration that left 47 people dead. This disaster shows the very real dangers posed by carrying oil by train – but despite the tragedy, oil companies are moving to transport even more oil by rail. The dangers created by oil trains are simply unacceptable, and the US Department of Transportation needs to hear this message from the public loud and clear.

Right now, the Department of Transportation is holding a comment period to collect input on how to make oil trains safer. But the fact is, you can’t transport huge volumes of a highly combustible substance like oil by rail, without endangering the communities the trains pass through. When an accident occurs in a highly populated area, as happened in Lac-Mégantic, the consequences can be catastrophic.

The reason oil companies want to transport more oil by train is so that they can deliver oil from newly tapped US reserves to new markets, including overseas export markets. But instead of opening new areas to oil extraction, the US should be focused on transitioning to clean, renewable energy. Sign the petition below to urge the Transportation Department to encourage a shift to clean energy, by keeping oil trains off our rail system.


Dear Secretary Foxx,

We, the undersigned, are highly concerned about proposals to increase the number of oil trains on our nation’s rail system. As you know, transporting oil by train carries inherent risks. We have only to look at the disaster which occurred in Lac-Mégantic this past summer, to see how tragic the consequences can be when things go wrong.

The move to transport oil by rail is a result of oil companies opening new US reserves to exploitation, often so they can export US oil overseas. We should be transitioning to clean energy, not encouraging more oil extraction that endangers our communities. It isn’t in the best interests of the public to have more oil trains on our railways, and the Department of Transportation should do everything in its power to prevent this from happening.

We don’t want a small tightening of safety regulations for oil trains; we want our communities to be protected, period. If that means keeping oil trains off our nation’s tracks altogether, so much the better. It is long past time we made the transition to clean energy, and let dangerous oil transportation become a thing of the past.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Oil Change International

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