Bustos and Durbin urge stronger safety standards for transport of flammable materials following train derailment near Galena

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Following the recent BNSF train derailment south of Galena, U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) called for renewing efforts to create the strongest possible safety standards for the transportation of flammable materials such as crude oil by rail.  In a letter to the Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan, the Illinois members cited booming oil production in the Bakken region and Canadian tar sands that have caused an exponential increase in shipments of crude oil.

“In 2014, railroads carried almost 650,000 carloads of oil, compared to just 9,500 carloads in 2008,” Bustos and Durbin wrote.  “This impact is felt in Illinois, which has the second most railroad track in the country, and approximately 25 percent of all U.S. rail traffic passes through densely populated Chicago.  Improving freight rail safety is more critical than ever before.”

Since the train derailment, Bustos and Durbin have been in contact with BNSF and federal, state and local agencies including the Department of Transportation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Yesterday, on the first day that non-emergency personnel were permitted on-site, Bustos thanked first responders and got to see the clean-up progress firsthand. She also met with local community leaders and officials in downtown Galena to hear their feedback on the impact of the accident to the surrounding area.