Who/What Houston residents will meet on Saturday, June 27 with State Sen. Silvia Garcia and Council Robert Gallegos to voice concerns about the potential for an oil-train catastrophe in Houston’s East End. Some 66 to 200 oil train cars run through Houston weekly, and highly populated East End neighborhoods are in the “blast zone,” the half-mile area on either side of the tracks that would have to be evacuated in the event of a catastrophic oil train derailment. (For an interactive version of the map, click here.)
“Houston is an oil-train catastrophe waiting to happen,” said Juan Parras, director of Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (TEJAS). “Ultimately, we need to stop the shipment of highly flammable oil by rail. It’s just too dangerous. Until that happens, we need to at least route these bomb trains around densely populated areas – not through them.”
The rapid escalation of oil-by-rail shipment has led to a spate of derailments in the United States and Canada. Earlier this year, derailments in Illinois and West Virginia caused massive fires that burned for days and required evacuation of people near the tracks. Last year, oil spilled into Virginia’s James River because of a derailment, and in the worst incident, 47 people were killed when an oil train derailed in the Canadian town of Lac Megantic. Last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation predicted there would be an average ten derailments of oil and ethanol annually and that hundreds could be killed if one of those derailments happens in an urban area.
When/Where The community meeting will be held June 27, 11 a.m., in Classroom 1 of the Immaculate Conception Church at 7250 Harrisburg Blvd.
Public Citizen & Clean Gulf Commerce Coalition