Derail Dangerous Exploding Oil-Carrying Trains

Derailment in Illinois

Target: Director of U.S. Department of Transportation, Michael W. Lowder

Goal: Stop oil and rail companies from transporting crude oil in outdated tankers

In 2014, the United States experienced a record number of trains derailing, spilling, or exploding while making their deliveries. Twenty-five million Americans were in the blast zones of these trains. The U.S. Department of Transportation wants to make trains safer for the public, but the rail and energy companies are opposing this action. To stop the unnecessary killing of many unsuspecting bystanders, we must tell U.S. Department of Transportation Director Michael W. Lowder that we want safer trains.

Many older model train tanks called DOT-111, which carry volatile oil and gas, are placing millions of lives at risk when transporting crude oil. A recent string of derailments and explosions from the Bakken Shale has caught the attention of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the department is looking to phase out these tanks in the next two years. Some of the new measures include upgrading crude-carrying tankers by 2017 and replacing tank cars that carry volatile fuel by 2018. Another measure is implementing a 40-mile-per-hour speed limit to reduce the chance of derailment and accidents. However, these measures will not be enough to protect the public. The Department of Transportation needs to place a ban on all DOT-111 tankers, as they are not fit to carry such volatile material.

Rail and oil companies do not want to comply with these new standards as they would have to purchase new tankers. The U.S. Department of Transportation has already deemed crude-carrying tankers an “imminent hazard” to the public. Don’t let the department be intimidated by energy and rail companies. The safety of the public is at stake and that should trump concerns about future costs and profits. Tell the Director Lowder to ensure that old and outdated tankers do not carry crude oil.


Dear Director Lowder,

I understand that the Department of Transportation wants rail companies to phase out the DOT-111 tankers that carry volatile oil across the country. In 2014, the United States witnessed a record-breaking number of derailments and explosions resulting from these outdated tankers. These incidents pose a huge risk to the public and I applaud your department for forcing rail companies to change their policies and tankers.

However, this will not be enough to protect the public. Even renovated tankers have the potential to hurt the public, therefore I ask that you ban all DOT-111 tankers from carrying such volatile materials. New and updated train models should be the only ones carrying these materials across the country. If you wish to protect the public from a derailed train or worse, an explosion, this ban must go into place.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: National Transportation Safety Board via Wikimedia Commons

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