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City’s Office of Emergency Management Acts With Indifference; Clean Water Action Announces Community Listening Tour To Highlight the Continued Danger of Oil Trains to Public Health and the Environment
Philadelphia, PA – A year ago today, Philadelphia narrowly escaped a major disaster when six highly explosive CSX tank cars carrying volatile crude oil from the Bakken Shale region in North Dakota derailed on the Schuylkill Arsenal Bridge. This incident threatened the safety of nearby neighborhoods and the source of drinking water for 1.5 million city residents. Since that time city officials and the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management (OEM) have done little to improve protections, help residents understand the dangers of crude-by-rail, or what residents should do in the event of an oil train accident. Clean Water Action on the other hand has worked to uncover and improve OEM’s preparedness and has also begun setting up community listening sessions to help raise awareness about oil trains and to involve city residents in the conversation.
“Philadelphia dodged a bullet and avoided a major catastrophe but the next time we may not be so lucky,” said Mary Donahue, Program Organizer. “Every day we see 160,000 barrels of oil rumble through our neighborhoods and over our rivers headed for refining at Philadelphia Energy Solutions in South Philadelphia. We need to know that as oil train traffic increases, we have protections and safeguards in place to avoid and address future disasters,” concluded Donahue.
Low Impact Development (LID) is a method of community development that seeks to use less pavement and more natural systems to reduce impacts on the environment. This is Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund’s first report for the York County region.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is requiring townships and boroughs to update their local code to require more LID friendly techniques for new development as a condition of new MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) permits. LID methods are better for the environment because they slow the rate and volume of water that is entering local waterways after a storm event, reducing flooding, damage to streams and pollution from the runoff.
It wasn’t that long ago that you and nearly 70 percent of Pennsylvanians spoke out through polls conducted by Franklin & Marshall and Mercyhurst Colleges about your opposition to fracking in our state parks and forests.
Did you know that every day, trains carrying 160,000 barrels of crude oil travel through Philadelphia for refining in South Philadelphia? This oil is especially unstable and flammable. Derailments of this same type of cargo have happened throughout North America, impacting lives, property, and the environment. In fact, you may remember the oil train derailment that occurred earlier this year in Philadelphia when a crude oil train derailed on the Schuylkill Arsenal Bridge. Philadelphia was spared from this harrowing ordeal after authorities righted the car after many days in the dangerous position. Will Philadelphia be so lucky the next time?
Combating air pollution in Allegheny County, organizing with residents in the municipalities across the Ohio River to reduce the pollution coming from Neville Island and ensure that industry is being a "good neighbor is just some of our work to make air cleaner in Allegheny County.Find out more at the Bucket Bridgade.