New Jersey lawmakers are considering demanding more safety information about trains carrying crude oil through the state.
About 30 trains a month pass through the state carrying 30 million gallons of oil, according to Jeff Tittel, New Jersey’s Sierra Club director.
“The trains, no matter how you look at them, are a pipe bomb on wheels. They’re a disaster waiting to happen. This oil is dangerous,” he said. “It has these volatile chemicals in them, these aromatics that are explosive, and they’re the most high flammable crude oil there is.”
Bills proposed by state Sen. Loretta Weinberg would require operators of trains carrying Bakken crude oil to file comprehensive discharge and cleanup plans with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and local emergency agencies.
Railroad bridge owners would have to submit inspection reports to the Department of Transportation.
“We will be taking some step forward to anticipate what could happen and, hopefully, to make it less troublesome, less dangerous to the residents,” Weinberg, D-Bergen, said Monday.
Sen. Joe Pennacchio expressed concerns that the measure could provide information about train routes and cargo to potential terrorists.
“You have this high hazardous material coming through the state, which could be oil, could be nuclear water discharge waste, things that could really harm us, and if they know exactly when it will go over that Oradell Bridge, they’ll be waiting for them,” he said.
Weinberg said she’ll work with Pennacchio, R-Morris, to resolve those concerns.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and federal officials also are looking at more regulation of the oil trains.