Hawkins: Stop Bomb Trains, Improve Mass Transit with Green New Deal

Hawkins: Stop Bomb Trains, Improve Mass Transit with Green New Deal

For immediate release: October 31, 2018

Howie Hawkins Wants NY to Release Results from Train Inspections

Calls for a Green New Deal to create living-wage jobs building clean energy system

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor, said today that New York must do more to protect state’s residents from the dangers posed by oil bomb trains in New York.

Hawkins called for the State Department of Transportation to release information on the track and tanker inspection program that was initiated in 2014. No information about the inspections has been released since February 2017. Emergency response plans should also be updated and first responders need to be notified when hazardous substances are being transported by train through their communities.

Hawkins, who will participate in the only all-candidates-invited debate for governor this Thursday in Albany, supports increasing funding for mass transit statewide to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from the use of private cars and make public transportation more affordable and convenient for working people.

Hawkins, who has been endorsed by the Buffalo Teachers Federation, also supports raising taxes on the wealthy to help increase funding for local schools as well as other initiatives.

Once again, trains carrying massive volumes of explosive crude oil are traveling on CSX-owned tracks through New York State.  Such trains are called “bomb trains” following the tragic rail disaster 5 years ago in Lac Megantic Quebec where 47 people lost their lives on July 6, 2013. Faced with the Lac Megantic disaster and subsequent derailments of bomb trains in the US and Canada, Gov. Cuomo initiated a track and tanker inspection program in 2014.

Last week, many local volunteers worked 8 three-hour shifts during a 24-hour trainspotting effort at the Amtrak Depew Station on Dick Rd. They observed two bomb trains (100+ tankers each carrying explosive Bakken crude oil from North Dakota) traveling through Depew on CSX tracks.

Hawkins has long called for a Green New Deal to halt the use of fossil fuels and transition to 100% clean renewable energy by 2030. He says renewable energy is safer for public health and will create hundreds of thousands of living-wage jobs in manufacturing and construction to built the system out.

The Trump administration recently overturned a rule from the Obama administration that would have required trains that carry oil and other flammable materials near communities to install electronically-controlled braking systems to reduce risk of derailments and explosions. Studies have shown that with electronic braking more tankers would stay on the tracks in the event an accident.

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