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Demonstrators Explode Over Oil Train Derailments

BALTIMORE (WJZ)-- When bad things happen to tank cars carrying oil such as derailments triggering explosions, fires and spills, bad things have happened to people. That possibility brought demonstrators to Baltimore City Hall.

They want a bill to be heard, that would authorize a study of oil trains passing through the city.

"To hear the impact of the trains, what kind of threat they may pose and what kind of response is needed," said Dave Schott, supporter of the oil train bill.

This past May, a derailment spilled a toxic chemical in Washington D.C. Then in July, tanker cars overturned in the Howard Street tunnel under Baltimore. Fortunately, nothing leaked, burned or exploded.

Unfortunately, a blast and fire three years ago in Rosedale, followed the collision of a train with a truck. There are federal rules for trains hauling a million gallons or more of oil.

"To disclose what they're transporting, when they're transporting it and also have a disaster plan," said Michael Runnels of Loyola University.

But State Delegate Clarence lam is sponsoring a Maryland bill "that would improve disclosure of particularly hazardous chemicals and liquids that would be traveling the rail lines."

As issues go, this one grows in importance the closer you live to railroad tracks.

"If there was a derailment off the tracks near my house, I would be, we would be in jeopordy and our lives would be at risk," said Adriana Foster, supporter of the oil train bill.

The city is holding a hearing for the study of oil trains November 1. According to supporters of the oil trains bills, 165,000 City residents live near freight rail lines.

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