On anniversary of train derailment, groups call for transparency, legislation on crude oil in Baltimore

Tuesday, June 13, 2017
The Baltimore Sun

Jennifer Kunze, Maryland organizer for Clean Water Action, an environmental group with 8,000 members in Baltimore, cited a train explosion that killed 47 people in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, in 2013 as evidence of the threat faced by those who live near the tracks. About 165,000 Baltimoreans live in what's known as the "blast zone" that could be affected by an explosion, she said.

Had the derailed train been carrying crude oil, Kunze said, "this derailment likely would've resulted in a fire or explosion that would've endangered MICA, the University of Baltimore, the Baltimore Symphony, the Light Rail tracks and Taylor's home, as well as countless other homes and businesses in the area."

Nine oil train derailments happened in the United States between February 2015 and June 2016, said David McClure, president and business agent of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1300, who called the oil trains "ticking time bombs rambling through our city."

"It's time to take immediate action to protect our communities," he said.