Apr. 28, 2015 11:30 am

Crude Oil Talks Coming Up in Most Affected Philly Neighborhoods

In March, Philadelphia City Council unanimously adopted a resolution which called on the federal government to put in place the strongest safeguards regarding crude-by-rail safety.

This week, Clean Water Action will resume its listening tours about crude oil trains in two upcoming meetings to be held in West Philadelphia and South Philadelphia.

Clean Water Action is calling these the “most anticipated” of all of the meetings that Clean Water Action is organizing, because of the proximity of the tracks to these neighborhoods and the high level of concern from Philadelphians who live and work in those areas. Earlier this year, Clean Water Action held meetings in Francisville, Frankford, and Mt. Airy.

“Neighbors provided important insight at the first three meetings in Francisville, Frankford, and Mt. Airy. People are hungry to come together and do more to protect our neighborhoods,” said Michael Roles, program organizer for Clean Water Action.

The meetings will include a 30-minute presentation, as well as a neighborhood engagement session following each of the presentations where attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the issues.

The meeting in West Philadelphia will be held April 29, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the University of the Sciences, Griffith Hall at 600 S. 43rd Street, and the meeting in South Philly will be held May 5, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Dixon House, 1920 S. 20th Street.

“We are seeing oil trains in our neighborhoods every day in South Philly. Because of that, the reports of these continuing derailments around the country cause alarm to me and many of the people in our community. We are eager for more communication and transparency, because we don’t know about the risks, how to prepare, or how to respond,” said Jess Gould, president of the West Passyunk Neighbors Association, in a press release.

In March, Philadelphia City Council unanimously adopted a resolution which called on the federal government to release specifications for tank car design achieving the highest safety standards and for Philadelphia Rail Companies to rapidly upgrade and replace crude oil tank cars.

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The resolution also urges that the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and Philadelphia’s Office of Emergency Management work together to proactively and fully disclose train schedules and routes to first responders and the public, initiate emergency response workshops specific to major oil train derailments in communities along the rails, and review and update the City’s emergency response plan, evacuation routes and hazardous materials response plan for the increasing risks imposed by the transport of crude oil by rail.

“We need to work together to ensure that our communities are prepared, protected, and know how to respond to the risks associated with the rising boom in crude-by-rail. Philadelphia’s Office of Emergency Management can and should be an active participant in helping to make this happen, but so far they have been largely absent,” Roles said.

Image via Alex Vuocolo


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