Environmental activists rallied Wednesday in Sacramento against plans by oil companies to increase crude oil train shipments through populated areas in California and other states by rail. They say increasing the trips would raise the threat to public safety.
Assemblyman Roger Dickinson has authored a bill that he says will make transporting oil by rail safer. It would require oil and rail companies to better coordinate with first responders.
“I’ve introduced legislation that makes sure that our first responders get information that they need on an on-going basis in a timely way and have the ability to contact railroads in real time if there is an incident,” said Dickinson.
Railroad freight company BNSF says oil shipments by rail are safer than by road. Bill Day with the oil company Valero agrees.
“Union Pacific and other companies of course transport oil and other materials everyday without incident and at the refineries we handle them every day without incident,” said Day.
The Federal Railroad Administration said in a statement that in the last year it has increased inspections and invested in first responder training.