Baltimore still not safe from crude oil by train

MDE's denial of an permit to transport and store crude isn't the last word.

A recent Sun article discussed the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) denial of Targa Resources' permit to ship and store crude oil out of the Fairfield Peninsula in Curtis Bay ("State denies permit for Baltimore crude oil terminal," June 3). While this is reason to celebrate, there is still cause for concern.

Targa is one of many Port terminal operators. The article describes Axeon moving over 100 million gallons of crude oil by rail in recent years through Baltimore's backyards. Other companies, such as NuStar Terminals, are looking for their slice of the "Big Oil" pie, too.

MDE could still permit Targa to ship crude oil by rail if the company responses to MDE's request for additional information. Trains coming from North Dakota, bound for East Coast refineries like those in Philadelphia and New Jersey, are utilizing Baltimore as a pit stop.

Business as usual is too dangerous, especially with the lack of transparency from the rail companies to the public regarding when and how much explosive oil is being transported through residents' backyards.

There have been six accidents nation-wide since January. Two of the most damaging were described in the earlier article, but they failed to mention that the James River was set on fire for hours and nearly incinerated the town of Lynchburg.

Aside from the potential for disaster, these bomb trains cause immediate harm to the community through increased air pollution causing increased risk of high rates of asthma and cancers.

Baltimore City needs to protect itself from the disastrous effects caused by crude oil by rail derailments. The time is now, before anyone else gets hurt.

William Fadely, Baltimore

The writer is Baltimore program organizer of Clean Water Action.

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