Repost from The New York Times
[Editor: This is another good locally-based video, this time focusing on crude-by-rail in the Albany NY region. We have seen similar professional quality videos featuring the Pacific Northwest (by Columbia Riverkeeper and VICE News) and an Inside Climate News / Weather Films documentary, “Boom” that is broad in scope, focusing in on a bridge in Alabama. We need someone to create a prime time video documenting the looming threat of increasing oil trains here in our beautiful California, focusing not only on safety concerns, but also on the part our corporate decisions will play – or won’t play – in the desolation of land in Alberta Canada and the Upper Midwest and the massive release of toxic fossil fuel chemicals that contribute to climate change. – RS]
‘A Danger on Rails’
This short documentary warns about the dangers posed by trains that transport explosive oil across North America.Op-Docs, by Jon Bowermaster, April 21, 2015
In recent years, small towns across the United States have begun hosting an increasingly common phenomenon: long trains, made up of 100-plus black cylindrical cars, rolling slowly past our hospitals, schools and homes.
Few who see them know what they carry: highly flammable crude oil from the shale fields around North Dakota.
I live in the Hudson Valley and see these trains daily; Albany is a major hub, and trains traveling south down the Hudson River toward mid-Atlantic refineries hug its shores. Every day on the East Coast, as many as 400,000 barrels of this explosive mixture travel through our backyards over shaky bridges, highways and overpasses.
As this Op-Doc video shows, there are reasons to be very concerned about this increased train traffic, which is directly related to the boom in oil and gas drilling in the Midwest. These trains can be very dangerous, prompting some to call them “bomb trains.” There have already been horrific railway accidents in North America caused when these trains go off the tracks, some of them fatal.
No one wants the responsibility, or expense, of improving the safety of the cars, fuel, tracks or related infrastructure that would reduce the threat. While new regulations are expected in May from the United States Department of Transportation, environmentalists are not hopeful for much change — given the powerful lobbying efforts of the oil and rail industries.
Already this year there have been four serious derailments, resulting in spills, explosions and fires. Safety and Homeland Security officials have mentioned these “rolling bombs” as potential terrorist weapons. And the Department of Transportation has estimated that at this rate there will be 15 major accidents in the United States this year alone. I hope we will do our best to prevent them.
Jon Bowermaster’s most recent documentaries include “Antarctica 3D, On the Edge” and “Dear Governor Cuomo: New Yorkers Against Fracking in One Voice.’’ He is a 30-year resident of the Hudson Valley.