I am so glad to learn that Baltimore City Council passed Bill 17-0150 which would prohibit building new crude oil terminals within the city limits (“Baltimore council passes bill targeting crude oil terminals,” March 12). This bill is a very important step to protect me and my neighbors in various neighborhoods in the city from increased crude oil by rail traffic moving through where we live and being built in neighborhoods with residents living nearby that still have a high amount of heavy industrial zoned properties.
In February 2016, Marilaine Savard traveled from Lac-Megantic, Quebec to Baltimore to speak about her experience surviving the crude oil train derailment there three years before that killed 47 people. Before the event, she visited me and a few of my neighbors in Westport and was shocked to see a sharp curve in the railroad tracks that wraps around half of my neighborhood located very close to people’s homes — just like the one where the crude oil train derailed in her town.
From the infamous Howard Street tunnel fire back in 2001 to the freight train explosion in Rosedale in 2013, we now know we are at risk for train derailments in Baltimore. Thankfully, none of these past incidents have resulted in the devastation and tragedy that Lac-Megantic faced, but crossing our fingers and hoping nothing bad ever happens is not the solution. The Crude Oil Terminal Prohibition is a critical step to prevent more of these bomb trains in our neighborhoods.
I am glad the City Council and my council member, Edward Reisinger, understand this, and I hope that Mayor Catherine Pugh signs this bill so that Westport and other Baltimore neighborhoods such as Curtis Bay, Mount Winans, Bolton Hill, and downtown do not become the next Lac-Megantic.
Keisha Allen, Baltimore
The writer is president of the Westport Neighborhood Association.