Schneiderman asks Trump to close “Bomb Train” loophole

Railroad tank cars are stopped along Broadway on May 22, 2017. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)
Railroad tank cars are stopped along Broadway on May 22, 2017. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman is leading a coalition of six states urging the Trump Administration to close a loophole that allows highly flammable, highly explosive crude oil to be shipped by rail through communities in New York and across the country.

These “bomb trains” are responsible for several catastrophic rail accidents including the 2013 explosion in Quebec that killed 47 people according to Schneiderman’s office.  These trains travel around 700 rail miles in the state. Some passing through Sloan and Cheektowaga.

Attorneys General from New York, California, Illinois, Maryland, Maine, and Washington filed comments as part of the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking process issued by the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

“Because of a regulatory loophole, these trains can carry crude oil through some of our most densely populated areas without any limit on explosiveness or flammability – creating ticking time bombs that jeopardize the safety of countless New Yorkers and Americans,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “It’s time for the federal government to put New Yorkers’ safety first and take immediate action to close this dangerous and nonsensical loophole.”

Schneiderman’s office says that up to 44 “unit trains” – chains of 70 to 120 tank cars – travel on rail routes that bisect New York each week -each carrying from 2 to 3.5 million gallons of crude oil.

These trains cover approximately 700 miles of the state, passing through small communities as well as the heart of population centers such as Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester, Plattsburgh, Saratoga Springs, Albany, Kingston, and Newburgh, and within a few miles of New York City.

Click here to read the comments filed by the Attorneys General.