The fiery oil train derailment in West Virginia on President’s Day, which forced the evacuation of nearby residents and sent Bakken crude into the Kanawha River, has environmentalists and local lawmakers taking a more critical look at the oil trains running across Pennsylvania’s tracks.
The burning CSX rail cars in the West Virginia accident carried shale oil from North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields. Dozens of those same oil trains role across Pennsylvania each day on their way to Philadelphia area refineries. And driving, walking or biking around Philadelphia these days it’s hard to miss the rows of black cylindrical tanker cars lining the city’s railroad tracks.
Philadelphia City Council passed a resolution Thursday urging the city’s Office of Emergency Management and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency to work together and make more information about the oil train routes and safety plans available to the public. Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds-Brown says the 2014 oil train derailment that had tanker cars hanging over the Schuylkill River close to the downtown area of the city was a warning.