Stop the Bomb Trains

crude oil train 200 graphic
 Photo: Chad Gomes

As much as 7 billion gallons of crude oil could move by train through New York State annually under current and proposed permits as the nation’s “virtual pipeline” for crude oil expands.

The Department of Transportation can take immediate action to reduce the risks of derailments, which have caused catastrophic spills of crude oil elsewhere in the United States and Canada, including the tragic loss last year of 47 lives and the destruction of a business district in Lac-Megantic, Quebec.

The volatility of Bakken crude oil combined with the inadequacy of the DOT-111 railcars used to transport much of this cargo has led rail workers to dub them "bomb trains." Spills of heavy crudes, such as those from Alberta, Canada, tar sands, would have particularly damaging impacts to water and the ecosystems they support – because heavy crude oils can sink, clean-up is next to impossible.

The DOT-111 railcars lack any of the basic safety mechanisms (such as shields, pressure vents, or thicker hulls) called for in reports issued by the National Transportation Safety Board, U.S. and Canadian safety agencies, Congressional researchers, and even the railroad industry itself. Further, these DOT-111 crude oil tankers are just small enough to fit through a federal loophole exempting them from having detailed, comprehensive, federally-approved emergency response plans.

Support Riverkeeper’s call for a moratorium on crude oil transportation through New York State by calling on Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to (1) ban, with an emergency order, the use of DOT-111 cars for transporting crude oil, (2) implement NTSB safety recommendations on crude oil transport, and (3) immediately open a public process for developing new rules and regulations governing oil transportation.

Call on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to demand that this action be taken.

Consider these facts in writing your letter.


•    You must be a New York State resident to take this action.

•    Read the sample letter (below) and edit it as you see fit. Personalized letters have a greater impact!

•    Just fill out the required fields and click “Submit Comment” and it will go to the Department of Transportation and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.


  • Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
  • Mr. Anthony Foxx, Secretary of Transportation


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