Shipments Of Hazardous Material On Rails Up 440 Percent

Tuesday, April 22nd 2014, 10:47 pm
By: News On 6

A dramatic increase in hazardous liquids being hauled via freight trains in tonight's 6 investigates update.

Several trains carrying crude oil have derailed and exploded in the past year, killing dozens of innocent people.

On Tuesday, the chair of the National Transportation Safety Board said the increase of that crude oil, plus ethanol and other hazardous chemicals, currently shipped on rail lines is alarming.

2/11/2014 Related Story: Potentially Explosive Train Cargo Puts Tulsans At Risk

Deborah Hersman said the shipments have increased 440 percent since 2005, and that communities are not prepared to respond to potentially devastating accidents.

"We aren't prepared. Our communities aren't prepared to respond to this. This is, or this can be a worst case scenario event, and we don't have provisions in place to deal with it, either on the industry side or first responders," Hersman said.

As part of 6 investigates I discovered a large number of tank cars carrying hazardous materials are winding through green country towns and downtown Tulsa every day, including those carrying crude oil.

The NTSB is now holding a forum on the topic, hoping experts will come up with ways to prevent catastrophic accidents involving rail tank cars in cities like Tulsa.