Unsafe oil trains, loaded with volatile North Dakota crude, are rumbling through Pennsylvania and around America. Four trains have already exploded in America and Canada. Then, during the early morning hours of Martin Luther King day, an oil train derailed in the City of Philadelphia and closed a major highway there. Catastrophe is tapping us on the shoulder!
Regulation of these oil trains is so lax and the danger posed so serious that the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, is demanding regulators take action. While the federal government fiddles, states must act immediately to protect their citizens.
In Pennsylvania, Governor Corbett must take 4 emergency steps to strengthen greatly regulation of oil trains. First, he must require that railroads transporting North Dakota crude in Pennsylvania use modern, puncture-resistant tankers and not old, unsafe tankers that are being phased out.
Second, he must make sure that the rails over which these trains travel are immediately inspected and the rate of rail inspections be greatly increased.
Third, Governor Corbett must establish new, lower speed limits for oil trains and make sure those limits are enforced.
Fourth, the Governor must impose a fee on each oil train to raise revenues that will be dedicated to paying for emergency preparedness and responses to oil train accidents.
These four actions must be taken immediately and this issue requires strong leadership from the Governor. It is already late, and it was nearly too late on Monday to avoid a catastrophe.