A Set-Back on Oil Trains. But It's Not Over
Oil train safety advocates in Baltimore received disappointing news last week.
Activists have been working for more than a year to pass the Baltimore City Oil Trains Ordinance, which would put in place a handful of common-sense safety measures to protect Baltimore in the event of a derailment. It calls on the Health Department to conduct studies assessing the health impacts and risks associated with transporting crude oil through the city. It requires City departments to update their incident response plans to account for crude oil shipments. It ensures that any oil spill or explosion in the City could be adequately cleaned up. And finally, it mandates that the Office of Emergency Management reach out to residents, community centers, hospitals, and schools put in danger by oil train shipments to communicate the risks and safety measures they can take.This bill was introduced in January and unanimously co-sponsored by every City Council member. The next step is for the Judiciary and Legislative
Investigations Committee to hold a hearing on the bill, allowing public discussion and debate before voting on a recommendation for the whole City Council. But the Chair of that committee, District 1 representative James Kraft, just announced that he does not plan to schedule that hearing before the end of his term in December – effectively killing the bill.
This is a disappointing setback for the health and safety of neighborhoods all across Baltimore. Please contact Council President Jack Young and Judiciary Committee Chair James Kraft to tell them you want a hearing on the Oil Trains Ordinance to be scheduled soon. We cannot wait until next year for these common-sense safety measures in Baltimore.
- Council President Jack Young: 410-396-4804; CouncilPresident@BaltimoreCity.gov
- Councilmember James Kraft: 410-396-4821; James.Kraft@BaltimoreCity.gov