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AIR DATES: Week of May 11

Rachel DePompa

More oil than ever before is being transported on trains. Its highly flammable and making its way
through major cities. Weve already seen a ton of fireball crashes.
The plus side to this? Its a boom for oil production in the USand its paying dividends at the pump, but
it comes with a dangerous cost.
Several high profile explosions. According to an analysis conducted by the Department of
Transportation, American railways this year will carry 900,000 car loads of oil and ethanol. Each tanker
holds 30,000 gallons of fuel. Thats a massive increase in oil transport by rail, which saw a 40 fold
increase between 2008-2012. (MORE numbers:) According to Energy Information Administration
railroads moved only 9,500 cars of crude oil in 2008 but more than 400,000 in 2013. In the first
seven months of 2014, trains carried 759,000 barrels a day thats more than 200,000 cars
altogether or 8 percent of the countrys oil production.

Just this week the AP revealed: The US Department of Transportation predicts an average of 10 such
accidents a year over the next two decades.
Link: (if the link
doesnt work- headline to search is: AP Exclusive: Fuel-hauling trains could derail at 10 a year)

IDEAS for this story: There are various ways to tackle this story. Here are a few ideas that are very
promotable in your markets.
1- The story would warn people about the oil trains coming through and where. (danger in their
own backyards. Show people the homes that back up to the tracks)
2- AlsoThe US Department of Transportation issued an emergency order last May (after the
Lynchburg derailment) requiring railroads to notify state officials about the volume, frequency
and county by county routes of trains carrying 1 million or more gallons of crude oil from the
Bakken region. Here is the order: . You will
need to send a FOIA to your State Emergency Management folks to get a copy of the report sent
to your state. FYI- the railroads asked that this information not be sharedVirginia decided it
was not exempt from FOIA. Heres our states response: and

here is the report for our state(so you know what to look for in your
3- We are discovering that first responders around the country are highly concerned about this.
They say the mandate does not go far enough. They say the rail companies arent giving them
that much information. Many will go on record with you. We spoke with a firefighters
association for our state that is holding meetings on this issue. They are scared these bomb
trains could derail in a major city and wipe it out. And these are the guys running to the
derailment, when everyone else is running away.
Here is a link to the US Dept of Transportation guidelines being considered right now:
4- You could show how close the tracks are to major places/attractions in your city. The other fear
is for train tracks that are next to waterthe water catching fire from the oil and taking the fire
further into a town. We are getting a local fire department to go around with us and show us
the areas they are MOST concerned about.
5- You could also set up shop next to your tracks and see what kinds of chemicals are coming
through your town. The tanker cars are each marked with a code. That code tells first
responders exactly what is in the tanker. (after 9/11 the feds tried to remove this information
saying it was a national security and terrorism risk, but first responders fought backthey said
we NEED to know what we are dealing with at a derailment. Every second counts.) You could
see for yourself and show viewers exactly what kinds of products are coming through by staking
out the tracks for a few hours.
This is a link to the DOT Emergency Response guide book all fire departments have. It teaches them how
to respond to a derailment. Pages 7-15 teach you the types of train cars, where to look for the placards
and how to decode them. (meaninghow to figure out what each tanker is carrying.)
For those that have already been following this story. OTHER ideas or Angles.
1- You could go over not just the Bakken Oil, but the top 5 most dangerous chemicals being
transported on the rails in your community. Local firefighters in your region will have a good
idea. Plus the rail companies list the chemicals they transport on their websites.
2- The cars used to carry this oil are called DOT-111s and the DOT has been screaming for years
that they are outdated and need to be done away with.

VIDEO of some of the past derailments: (Ive found on Oasis) (fantastic video and nats of fireballs)
Quebec, Canada: 7/6/13 The explosion killed 47 people and leveled much of downtown Lac-Megantic,
Quebec. The damage has been estimated at $1.2 billion.

Lynchburg, Virginia 4/30/14 (we shot this)

Nearly 30,000 gallons of crude oil spilled into the James. 17 tankersout of 105 carrying the Bakken Oil
from the Shale fields of North Dakota derailed. 3 tankers tumbled into the James River and 1 of those
erupted into flames. Fortuanately, 98% of the oil burned. The state just fined CSX $361,000 for the
incident and ask the company to pay $ 18,500. (the cost of the investigation) This train was destined for
Yorktown, Virginia. (would have come through downtown Richmond, VA) This accident did an estimated
2.8 million in damage.
West Virginia: 2/16/15
27 cars of 109 car CSX train left the tracks during a snow storm in southern West Virginia. The
derailment sent a fireball into the sky and threatened the water supply of nearby residents. That train
was also hauling Bakken Oil that was destined for Yorktown, Virginia. (would have come through
downtown Richmond, VA)
You can search 10 years of data for your state here:
CSX take on Crude Oil:
Association of American Railroads take:

EXPERT: An expert based in DC happened to be in Richmond last week talking to local firefighters about
this very issue. We snagged him while he was here and could share this interview company wide. His
name is Fred Millar and hes an independent rail consultant.