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Post a stop sign to crude oil trains

A tanker is moored at the Apex Oil terminal at S. Clinton Street in Baltimore's Inner Harbor in November, 2016.
A tanker is moored at the Apex Oil terminal at S. Clinton Street in Baltimore's Inner Harbor in November, 2016. (Jerry Jackson / Baltimore Sun)

I was glad to read Rabbi Daniel Cotzin Burg’s commentary about Baltimore City’s proposed crude oil terminal prohibition (“Faith leaders: ban crude oil terminals,” Feb. 16). He mentioned that this legislation would help protect communities all across the country from crude oil train explosions. I live in Ijamsville in Frederick County, a town linked to Baltimore by a freight rail line. If a new crude oil terminal were built in Baltimore, the trains supplying it would go through my community first, and we wouldn’t have any way to protect ourselves.

Frederick, like Baltimore, is no stranger to rail accidents. Just a few weeks ago, a freight train hit a garbage truck and almost derailed in Point of Rocks. Another train derailed between Brunswick and Point of Rocks last May. A bridge that carries Route 355 over the train tracks has been declared structurally deficient. Most frightening to me, a freight train carrying hazardous materials to Baltimore derailed near my home in Ijamsville last March. Thankfully, none of these incidents resulted in the loss of life. But if those trains had been carrying crude oil to a terminal in Baltimore, they probably would have.

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Frederick, unlike Baltimore, cannot pass any laws to reduce the number of trains carrying crude oil through our county. The Crude Oil Terminal Prohibition is Maryland’s only option for preventing another increase in crude oil trains. In Portland, Ore., and Vancouver, Wash., communities fed up with fighting off individual proposals for new crude oil terminals said “enough” and banned them outright in their zoning codes. By passing this bill, Baltimore can do the same thing and lead the East Coast in preventing crude oil trains.

Baltimore, please stand up for the counties that don't have a voice and use your authority to ban crude oil terminals. The rest of Maryland is counting on you.

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Veronica Poklemba, Ijamsville

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