Senator Baldwin Joined by First Responders and Concerned Citizens in Milwaukee to Call for Action on Dangerous Oil Trains

Baldwin highlights Crude-By-Rail Safety Act to protect Wisconsin communities & increase rail safety

MILWAUKEE, WI – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today was joined at Beulah Brinton Park by local first responders and concerned citizens to highlight the dangers facing Milwaukee and surrounding communities as volatile oil train traffic increases and call for immediate action to increase rail safety in Wisconsin.

Senator Baldwin’s Crude-By-Rail Safety Act would set new standards for crude volatility, take unsafe tank cars off the tracks, and increase fines for violations. In addition, the legislation would authorize funding for first responder training, equipment and emergency preparedness and require comprehensive oil spill response plans for trains carrying oil, petroleum and other hazardous products.

“The danger facing Wisconsin residents living near rail lanes has materialized quickly. Just a few years ago, an oil train in our state was a rare sight. Today, more than 40 oil trains a week pass through Wisconsin,” said Senator Baldwin. “As more and more volatile crude oil moves through Wisconsin by rail, it is critical that appropriate safety measures are in place to reduce the risk of deadly accidents and that our emergency personnel have the training and resources to respond in case of tragedy.” 

“Every day trains carrying millions of gallons of volatile petroleum products roll through the state of Wisconsin. Those trains pass through our villages, towns and cities, often within a few yards of where people work, eat, sleep and raise their families. We have trained and prepared and we will do what we can to reduce injury, loss of life and property damage. What we cannot do locally is reduce the possibility of a catastrophic event that will place hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands of our citizens at risk. That is up to the petroleum producers, the rail industry, the federal railroad administration and our elected officials in Washington. The bill introduced by Senator Baldwin seeks to close that gap and reduce the risk to citizens and first responders in several ways. I applaud the efforts of Senator Baldwin and would encourage her fellow Senators to support the bill which has been introduced. It begins with a discussion which is long overdue,” said Steven Fronk, City of Milwaukee Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. 

“I am grateful that Senator Baldwin is addressing these issues of safety on the rails and holding the oil companies accountable. I would ask that all of us, in small towns or large, support her in this legislation,” said Lee Ann Kingston, a concerned citizen living near tracks that carry crude oil and whose grandchildren also live near dangerous oil train routes. 

Canadian Pacific runs seven to 11 oil trains per week through the city of Milwaukee. The trains cross through Hart Park in Wauwatosa, the Menomonee Valley, downtown Milwaukee and the Bay View neighborhood where Beulah Brinton Park is located. This is the same crude-by-rail route  that a Canadian-bound train followed in 2013 before it crashed in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, killing 47 people.

More information on Senator Baldwin’s efforts on Wisconsin rail safety here.