We see it happening more frequently; railways are endangering communities all over North America by sending trains jam-packed with unsafe tankers full of dirty, dangerous oil right through the heart of their communities. You and I know that if we don’t do something about this growing threat, the Oil Industry will continue to push exploding rail cars through more and more towns across Canada, Maine, and the rest of the United States
The success of our movement to stall pipeline expansion has created the rush towards crude-by-rail, or “rolling pipelines.” Now that Keystone XL has been delayed again, the time is ripe to strategically expand our opposition towards this pervasive threat. As proposed crude-by-rail infrastructure crisscrosses North America, opportunities for intervention and impact are widespread, and Maine is on the route between well heads and the sea—or to New Brunswick and the Irving refinery.
ForestEthics, Le Carré Bleu Lac-Mégantic, Oil Change International, Sierra Club, 350 Maine, and 350.org are teaming up with North American communities endangered by these rail shipments to stop oil by rail. You've joined us in taking action to stop unsafe rail cars from endangering the Maine cities of Fairfield and Auburn.
In the horror of the July 6, 2013 decimation of the small town of Lac-Mégantic, Québec, we witnessed the disastrous consequences of the crude-by-rail rush. The incineration of the Lac-Mégantic downtown by an out-of-control oil train and the tragic deaths of 47 residents demonstrates the darkest peril of the oil industry’s reckless endangerment. The one-year anniversary of this tragic disaster is a time to remember this loss and let it spur our resolve to defend our communities from similar catastrophes.
This year on July 6th, peoples of Lac-Mégantic gathered for a solemn anniversary remembrance of the derailment and firebomb that decimated their community and ended 47 lives. Interfering with their ability to peacefully honor the memory of those lives lost, Lac-Mégantic residents must continue to resist Rail and Oil Industry plans to resume oil-by-rail shipments through their still-recovering town; the Central Maine and Québec Railway (formerly Montreal, Maine & Atlantic) includes resumption of unit trains of Bakken crude oil as a major part of its business plan. It is only a matter of time before our communities are once again at extreme risk unless we act.
Lac-Mégantic’s struggle is a grim reminder to us all: Big Oil will stop at nothing to extract, transport, and burn every drop of oil in the ground. No matter the risk, no matter the cost to public health, safety, and the climate, the Oil industry will jump at every opportunity to profit.
Join with us this July and help send a strong, unified message to local, regional, and national decision makers: KEEP DIRTY OIL OFF THE RAILS AND IN THE GROUND!
350 Maine has signed these two nationwide resolutions in support of railway workers:
Resolution on Crew Fatigue
Whereas, all too many railroaders in North America work long, irregular hours and all too often are chronically sleep deprived; and
Whereas, most North American railroad workers have no schedule whatsoever, and are generally called to work at all hours of the day, seven days a week, with just two hours’ notice of work; and
Whereas, these long hours without enough sleep have been the cause of countless wrecks, injuries and fatalities over the years, both on and off the job; and
Whereas, this chronic fatigue contributes greatly to all sorts of problems on and off the job – physical, mental, emotional, marital, family, etc.; and
Whereas, excessive work hours means less time for other aspects of life – hobbies, interests, family, friends, community and union work, etc.; and
Whereas, the rail carriers compound the problem when they implement draconian “availability policies”, making it nearly impossible for some railroaders to take the necessary time off work; and
Whereas, countless studies have proven that fatigue -- having a very similar effect upon the brain as excessive alcohol consumption -- has been a major contributor to disastrous railroad accidents in recent years: and
Whereas, despite study after study, meeting after meeting, the unions and the carriers have more often than not been unable to reach agreement on ways and means to provide adequate and proper rest for train and engine crews;
Therefore, Be it Resolved, that 350 Maine recognizes that excessive work hours and the resultant crew fatigue are major issues in the rail industry that can no longer be ignored; and
Be in Further Resolved that 350 Maine supports a nationwide campaign to combat the chronic fatigue and excessive work hours that North American railroad workers are subject to.
Be it Finally Resolved that 350 Maine calls on community organizations, civic groups, environmental organizations and labor unions to join with us in this important fight against train crew fatigue.
Resolution in Opposition to Single Employee Train Crews
Whereas, the major rail carriers have made it clear in their words and actions that they wish to conduct operations to the extent possible, “conductor only” in remote control (RCO) yard operations, and “engineer only” on road trains; and
Whereas, the major U.S. rail carriers have long stated their intentions to operate road trains with a single employee, when more than decade ago they made their intentions known to both unions of the operating crafts through a “Section 6” notice addressed to the unions dated 11/1/04; and
Whereas, in the words of a Joint Petition filed with Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) in June 2009 by both unions of the operating crafts, “No conditions exist where one-person operations are safe;” and
Whereas, both unions of the operating crafts support a bill before Congress known as “The Safe Freight Act” (HR #3040), that would outlaw single employee train operations in the U.S.; and
Whereas, the FRA itself proclaimed on 4/9/14 that “safety is enhanced with the use of a multiple person crew — safety dictates that you never allow a single point of failure.”
Whereas, the implementation of single employee operations will invariably result in a serious degrading of worker safety, security, and quality of work life;
Whereas, these unsafe working conditions referenced above would pose a danger to shippers, pedestrians, motorists, trackside communities, the environment and the general public;
Therefore, Be it Resolved, that 350 Maine opposes any current use, and any further expansion of, single employee operations anywhere in North America, in the yard or on the road; and
Be in Further Resolved that 350 Maine is committed to support the efforts of railroad workers and their organizations to ensure a two employee minimum on every train crew; and
Be it Finally Resolved that 350 Maine calls on other community organizations, civic groups, environmental organizations and labor unions to join with us in this crucial fight against single employee operation of trains.
A: Gold pledge: You pledge to limit any flights this year to emergencies.