BALTIMORE – This morning, 12 concerned Baltimore residents wearing red shirts bearing the message “Hear the Oil Trains Bill” attended a City Council hearing to protest nine months of inaction on a common-sense bill to address the health and safety dangers of explosive oil trains that travel through Baltimore. At the start of the hearing, Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Kraft informed the community activists that he had just scheduled a committee hearing for this bill on November 1, 2016.
Clean Water Action and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network issued the following statement in response:
“We applaud Councilman Jim Kraft for listening to the concerns of his constituents and the greater Baltimore community and taking this simple, yet important step toward action on the public health and safety risks of oil trains. We look forward to working with him to ensure that Council Bill 16-0621 passes successfully so that Baltimoreans will be better informed of, and the City will be better prepared for, the dangers of explosive crude oil trains.”
Council Bill 16-0621 was introduced on January 26, 2016 by City Council President Jack Young and co-sponsored by an overwhelming majority of the City Council. The bill would require the first-ever city study of the health and safety impacts of oil trains in Baltimore, where more than 165,000 people live within the one-mile potential impact zone of a derailment and explosion.
The bill was assigned to the Judiciary and Legislative Investigations Committee where it languished for nine months with no action. Today’s announcement that a hearing has been scheduled marks an important step before the bill goes before the full Council. The Committee also requested reports on the bill from the City Solicitor, the Health Department, and the Department of Finance. These reports have not yet been received by the Committee.
Jamshid Bakhtiari, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, firstname.lastname@example.org, 443-826-9784
Jennifer Kunze, Clean Water Action, email@example.com, 410-235-8808