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August 26, 2014 > Exploding oil trains in Fremont?

Exploding oil trains in Fremont?

Submitted By Niles Discovery Church

Nobody in Lac-Mˇgantic, Quebec, in Canada thought the long trains of tank cars running through their city would explode and incinerate their downtown. But thatÕs what happened just over a year ago in the middle of a July night.

Trains with the same kind of tank cars are slated to run through the East Bay, along tracks shared by Amtrak, right through the back yards of residents of Fremont and other cities in the East Bay. A group of Tri-City residents is responding. They are holding an educational and organizing event that will take place on Thursday, September 11, at the Fremont Senior Center. The event is free, though donations will be accepted to help cover expenses. The facility is wheelchair accessible.

The 63 tank cars that exploded in a firestorm didnÕt just char downtown Lac-Mˇgantic. The oil spill and fire rendered some of the city permanently uninhabitable. Derailments, explosions, and oil spills have continued to occur since the Quebec disaster. Fiery derailments have occurred in Alabama, North Dakota, and New Brunswick. Analysis shows that more oil was spilled from oil trains in 2013 than all the oil spilled from trains in the preceding 37 years combined.

ItÕs hard to imagine the U.S. government allowing such a tragedy to repeat itself here, but state officials are downplaying the danger, and in doing so, are increasing the likelihood of a local tragedy.

These oil trains resemble none weÕve seen in the East Bay. Many pull a hundred tank cars and run a mile long. A single train can carry 3 million gallons of crude. The tank cars are old, defective, and prone to rupture, yet most will carry highly flammable crude oil. Here in the Tri-Cities, we could wake up to the wail of sirens as first responders race toward boiling balls of fire.

ÒEducation and organizing are necessary if weÕre going to keep our community safe,Ó the Rev. Jeffrey Spencer said. Spencer is the Senior Pastor at Niles Discovery Church and one of the organizers of the event.

The event will begin with a talk by Jess Dervin-Ackerman from the Sierra Club. She will discuss what the crude oil trains entail and why we should be concerned about them. The second speaker, Diane Bailey, is a Senior Scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). She will explain how the spike in oil trains is connected to the U.S. energy boom and global climate change. The evening will end with participants organizing themselves around several potential responses to pressure greater safety - or perhaps even a ban on the trains.

For more information on the event, check out

Oil Trains Discussion
Thursday, Sept 11
7 p.m. Ð 9 p.m.
Fremont Senior Center
40086 Paseo Padre Pkwy, Fremont
(510) 797-0895

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