“Stop Oil by Rail” Call to Action, July 6-13
“Keep the oil off the rails and in the ground.”
That’s the message for the week of action across North America starting July 6 to commemorate the 47 people who were killed in Lac-Mégantic by the oil train that derailed July 6, 2013, spilling 6 million litres of oil into the environment, exploding and burning for days, and destroying much of downtown Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. The town has still not recovered from one of the worst rail disasters in history.
The one-week commemoration event is spearheaded by Oil Change International, 350.org, Forest Ethics and the Sierra Club (see this link). The campaign states, “Lac-Mégantic’s struggle is a grim reminder to us all: Big oil will stop at nothing to extract, transport, and burn every drop of oil in the ground. No matter the risk, no matter the cost to public health, safety, and the climate, the oil industry will jump at every opportunity to profit. But now is the time when we say NO MORE. No more exploding trains. No more tar sands. No more reckless endangerment of our communities and our climate.”
Despite the Lac-Mégantic disaster and many other oil train derailments, spills, explosions and fires, the oil and rail industries are forging ahead with grandiose plans to expand oil-by-rail in Canada and the United States. Read “Runaway Train: The Reckless Expansion of Crude-by-Rail in North America” for details of the oil and rail industries’ current and planned shipments of crude-by-rail. The report, recently prepared by Oil Change International, suggests there may be a 5-fold increase in oil train traffic in North America, threatening communities, lakes, rivers and streams, with 675 trains of 100 tank cars each carrying a total of 45 million barrels of oil through North American communities every day.
Le Carré Bleu Lac-Mégantic, a local citizen group in Lac-Mégantic, has been calling for greater transparency in the rebuilding of their town following the oil train derailment nearly a year ago. They want the rail line through the centre of downtown to be rerouted around the town. Many residents don’t want any oil train traffic whatsoever near their town.
How many more oil train disasters like the one at Lac-Mégantic will it take to convince the oil and rail industries and federal politicians in Canada and the U.S. that oil and other hazardous goods cannot be transported safely by rail?