Just weeks after America witnessed a black plume of toxic murk billowing above East Palestine, the Surface Transportation Board inexplicably decided to increase the chance of an identical derailment horror, right here in the Chicago area.
When the Board approved America’s first big railroad merger in 25 years, it ensured that there will be a 300-600% increase in freight train traffic each day in our communities. That means 11,000 more rail cars filled with toxic chemicals will lumber down the tracks through Chicago and its surrounding suburbs each year. We don’t know what those chemicals will be—carcinogenic? combustible? explosive?—and the towns along the rail lines that will be forced to respond to any derailment won’t know, either.
Board Chairman Martin Olberman defended his approval of this grotesquely-timed merger with vague assurances that transportation of dangerous chemicals by rail is safer than by truck.