1 Million CA Students at Risk from Oil Trains
According to a study done by the Center for Biological Diversity, over one million California children go to school within a one-mile radius of an oil train blast zone. In the last several years there have been multiple accidents involving oil train derailments.
The U.S. Department of Transportation recommends an evacuation zone of at least a half-mile in all directions for a single tanker car on fire. But, if more than one tanker is caught on fire, one-or-more mile evacuation zone is recommended to prevent the inhalation of toxic fumes, matter, and heat.
Since 2013 there have been 11 oil train accidents in the United States and Canada resulting in explosions and fires involving multiple train cars--- and at least eight have require an evacuation zone of one mile or more.
"Oil trains have jumped the tracks and exploded in communities across the country," said Valerie Love with the Center for Biological Diversity. "There dangerous bomb trains don't belong anywhere near California's schools or our children." There are more than 2,300 elementary, middle, and high schools in 29 counties located within a mile of confirmed oil train routes in California.
The Center's investigation confirmed oil train routes throughout California, that include cities like Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Richmond, as well as suburbs and rural areas. The Phillips 66 oil train project would significantly increase risk to hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren throughout California.
"As educators we care deeply about the safety of our students and we certainly don't want dangerous trains full of explosive crude oil rolling by our classrooms," said Eric Heins, president of the California Teacher's Association. "The proximity of these oil trains puts our students and teachers in harm's way if one goes off the rails, and that's just not a risk we're willing to take."
The California Teacher's Association and the Nation Education Association have come out against oil trains and written letters to the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors opposing the Phillips 66 oil train project. There are also 15 school boards in the state of California, including San Leandro and Alameda counties, that have written letters opposing the Phillips 66 rail project.
Oil by rail has exploded from "virtually nothing" in 2008, to more than 50,000 rail cars in 2014 and billions of gallons of oil and tar sands that roll through ill-equipped towns and cities all over the country. With the amount of schools and school children within the blast zones of these bomb trains, it is imperative that steps are taken to ensure the discontinuation of these rail methods of carrying oils.