Fueled by the shale oil boom in North Dakota and Montana, trains now carry more than 500,000 carloads of oil and ethanol to coastal refineries. Now, a series of fiery train derailments in the U.S. and Canada is raising public safety concerns. On Saturday, a train crashed in Ontario, leaking oil into a nearby waterway. Here in the U.S., another train derailed last week in Illinois, causing evacuations and fire damage. Safety advocates say rail cars carrying oil need to meet tougher design standards and lower speed limits. Shippers argue that stricter measures are costly and risks are exaggerated. We look at the rise in oil train derailments and what can be done to prevent them.


  • Dina Cappiello National environment and energy reporter, The Associated Press.
  • Anthony Swift Attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council.
  • Cynthia Quarterman Distinguished senior fellow, The Atlantic Council; former administrator of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)
  • Ed Hamberger President and CEO, Association of American Railroads.

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