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Oil train explodes in North Dakota, town evacuated

New federal safety rules would have had no effect


The town of Heimdal, ND was evacuated today after an oil tanker train derailed and erupted into flames. The train was carrying crude oil in unjacketed CPC 1232 tank cars, and initial reports indicate that there were no injuries. The accident comes just days after the Department of Transportation issued new rules for transporting crude by rail, which safety advocates criticized as inadequate to protect the public.  

In response, Sierra Club staff attorney Devorah Ancel issued the following statement:

"The Sierra Club extends its sympathy to the residents of Heimdal, ND who have had to evacuate their homes on account of a crude oil train derailing and exploding. This accident is another example of how the American people are shouldering the risk for crude oil transport -- whether an exploding train or a ruptured pipeline -- while Big Oil rakes in the profits.

“The Department of Transportation’s new rules for transporting crude oil by rail would have done nothing to stop a disaster like the one in Heimdal. Rather than immediately banning unjacketed CPC 1232 tank cars, which are demonstrated to be unsafe, the agency gave a gift to Big Oil by allowing the cars to stay in use for another five to eight years. This is unconscionable given that the agency’s own statistics concluding that 15 accidents spilling crude will occur each year, and one large scale disaster will occur every two years, if existing tank car infrastructure remains in place. We need tougher standards for rail cars that transport crude oil and we need to get the unsafe, failure-prone cars off the rails right now -- not in five years. The best way to safeguard our air and water, our communities and our families is to speed up the transition to clean energy prosperity and keep dirty, volatile fuels like Bakken crude in the ground.”

Campaign Name: Beyond Oil


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