Train Blockade Press Release

350 Maine Blockades Train Carrying “Fracked” Crude Oil

CONTACT:
Meaghan LaSala: 973-862-7105
meaghan.lasala@gmail.com

Nancy Galland: 207-322-1693
nangalland@fairpoint.net

FAIRFIELD, Maine -- As part of a nationally coordinated week of action, 350 Maine, a grassroots movement addressing the climate crisis, is blockading a Pan Am train as it passes through downtown Fairfield tonight, preventing roughly 70,000 barrels of crude oil from reaching the Irving Refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick. Police are on the scene. Trains running through Maine carry crude from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota, where it is “fracked” or extracted by blasting a high pressure toxic cocktail deep into the ground to release the oil from shale rock, polluting air and water in surrounding communities.

Similar demonstrations are taking place across the nation this week as part of Fearless Summer, a grassroots movement of dozens of environmental groups, as a way to expose the dangers of extreme forms of energy extraction.

“Industry and governments should rapidly scale down the use of fossil fuels in response to climate change. But because of greed and dwindling global reserves, they are instead pursuing ever more destructive methods of extraction,” explained Read Brugger of Freedom, an organizer for 350 Maine.stop_that_train_banner.jpg

With hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” technology, oil that has long been impossible to extract is now the source of an explosive oil boom in the Midwest. Without enough pipelines to transport the Midwest crude to distant refineries, there has been a surge in the use of trains. Inspections of tracks are infrequent due to lack of resources to oversee them.

“We oppose the continued extraction of fossil fuels, but we also oppose its transportation over thousands of miles of environmentally sensitive areas,” said Sass Linneken of Benton, student at Unity College. “Since my number one job is to protect my children, I feel an obligation to take action,” she said.

The rail and energy industries insist that trains are among the safest ways to transport crude. But Pan Am alone had two train derailments in Maine within a year between 2012 and 2013. When one train carrying crude derailed this March in Mattawamkeag, DEP spokesperson Samantha Warren called the limited spillage “a miracle.”

Dozens of demonstrators are present at the blockade near the intersection of Rt. 201 and Rt 139 in Fairfield this evening. Protesters are also staging a mock oil spill at the site to educate the public about the hazards of fossil fuels and their impact on climate change.

“People say that this new oil boom in the US will make us energy secure,” said Meaghan LaSala, student at University of Southern Maine. “But there is nothing secure about runaway climate change. This is our moment to change our trajectory before it’s too late.”

For a full press packet, email meaghan.lasala@gmail.com.