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Protesters say oil trains shouldn’t be allowed during games

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SEATTLE -- It’s a disaster waiting to happen. That’s what protesters say about oil trains running right past the stadiums in SoDo. They staged a rally outside the Mariners game to raise awareness about the possible danger.

Thousands of people turned out to see the Mariners tonight. According to protesters, they were all putting their lives on the line, probably without realizing it.

“It isn't like it's been on the front page of the Seattle times with a map of the stadiums and where the oil is transported,” says Beth DeRooy.

But trains full of highly volatile baaken crude oil are running through Seattle now, and the tracks are close to Safeco Field.

“Trains are running past the stadium during games,” says David Perk. “We saw that on Monday, we have seen that back in April, and we know that it's happening at other times as well.”

Protesters are scared of a derailment or explosion like the one in Canada just two years ago. 47 people died in that accident.

“That was well publicized and the same thing could happen here,” says DeRooy.

“It is such high time that we put a stop to this,” says Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant, who joined the protesters today. But she doesn’t have the power to change when or where the trains run.

“The governor doesn't really have the power to stop the trains, nor does the county executive, nor does the mayor,” says Perk.

But he hopes if enough people start to pressure the federal government, changes will be made.

“A disaster in this area with this number of people in an open air stadium, with no evacuation plan that I’m aware of, would be really catastrophic.”

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6 comments

  • GarryNMarrufo

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  • Paul Wulterkens

    The death of 47 residents of Lac-Megantic, victims of an oil train explosion, has been remembered in cities around the country.
    Fracking pipelines and bomb trains were denounced. We were reminded that the blast zone extends a half mile on either side of the track. Meanwhile 9 million gallons on crude oil roll along U.S. rails. Refinery expansions involving more rails are vigorously opposed now by coalitions of affected towns and cities. 20,000 negative comments pepper an environmental review jof a refinery proposal. A fiery derailment causes 5,000 Tennesseeans to have to evacuate their homes. The DOT avers that an oil train explosion in a metro area like Houston could kill thousands and cost billions. New, advertised tougher, DOT regs still don’t have standards for stabilization, still allow the crude to be hauled in unsafe tank cars, and still don’t strengthen requirements for rail inspections.
    The Big 7 railroads enjoyed $6 billion in profits in 2008. Thanks to Bakken crude, profits have notched up to $14 billion in 2014. In that time, how much has gone into finding and fixing flaws in rails, switches, and bridges? How much has gone into escrow to pay for a disaster ours derailment? We often hear the hokey statistic that 99.97% of what is shipped arrives safely. How about some meaningful data about what is done with railroad profits?
    So, more important than ever, derailment avoidance is the area in which to put resource. Better inspections, stricter maintenance schedules, tighter enforcement by the Federal Railroad Administration.
    Sign the attached petition demanding that the FRA use its authority to promote safety, even at the cost of some profit for the railroads. Add a comment so they hear another voice besides the plaintive wail of the railroad lobbyists saying “Trust us, we know what we’re doing.”
    http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/enforce-railroad-health?source=s.fwd&r_by=1718159

  • Jispher Askine

    Got nuke weapons not that far off, if one of those goes off it will make a oil train explosion look like a popcorn fart. LOL!

  • dg54321

    You’re putting your life on the line on I-5 just trying to get to the game, or everytime you step out your door, or everytime you get on a plane…..jesus, these people just want to look for ANYTHING to protest, because they have nothing better to do.

    Yes, there is always risk, and we should ensure that risk is always minimized, and punish the negligent. But to stop civilization because there is risk, would mean we never even left our caves back in the day.

  • NW Citizen

    Good report Q13. Much better than the other media outlets. Oil trains represent a very real danger to all of us not only because of the immediate danger of explosions but also for the long term effect of burning all that fossil fuel on the planet. Wake up sheeple!

  • Jack Mackie

    Thank you for your accurate and informative coverage of this on-going story. A follow-up inquiry with the Seattle Fire Department will show that once these oil trains start burning there is no putting out the flames. Nothing, not even airport-type foam, can suppress these fires… and this oil ignites at 73 degrees Fahrenheit. These trains should be nowhere near the stadiums on game days.