Nearly 15,000 schools with 5.7 million students are located inside the U.S. Department of Transportation’s one-mile “blast zone” along rail lines that carry crude oil and other toxic substances, according to analysis released last week by ForestEthics.
“The DoT moved in May to lower maximum speeds to 40 miles per hours in cities, phase out older tank cars that can puncture, have carriers use safer routes, and require better brakes after a string of accidents,” Reuters reports. “But environmental groups say traffic should be stopped until even stricter rules are introduced. They say oil train speeds should be made even slower, even though many trains crawl through some neighborhoods, and that older cars should be taken off the rails right away.”
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The amount of crude leaving North Dakota oilfields has declined, as new pipelines have been built and falling oil prices have reduced volumes. But “safety advocates say it is just a matter of time before a big accident occurs in a U.S. city,” Reuters notes. (h/t to Midwest Energy News for pointing us to this story)