Help Us Track Oil Trains in Pittsburgh and Beyond

 FracTraker

Call for Volunteers

One of our new areas of focus  is protecting our rivers from the dangers of transporting harmful materials, particularly coal, coal ash and oil/gas across our rivers via barge and rail. Three Rivers Waterkeeper has partnered with the FracTracker Alliance and the CREATE Lab at CMU to track oil trains on October 21st near Pittsburgh, PA for 2-hour segments from 7:00am – 7:00pm.

Sign up to participate

We are looking for volunteers that can commit to a two-hour shift throughout the day on October 21st. Volunteers will be equipped with a video camera, tripod, and of course coffee and snacks in order to record the passing of trains in either direction throughout a two-hour shift. The video footage will allow us to identify a plaque that is required to be displayed on cars carrying oil, as well as whether the cars are empty or full.

Background Info

Approximately 400,000 barrels of oil are transported daily from the west, following tracks from North Dakota’s Bakken Shale Play, which typically run through populated urban areas such as Pittsburgh. These trains have been known to derail and cause immense damage. The most recent of cases occurred in Québec in July of 2013, when a derailed train and the subsequent explosions resulted in the deaths of 47 people. The transportation of volatile crude oil from western states to major cities up and down the Eastern seaboard poses a major risk to any town or city through which these trains pass. FracTracker and affiliated groups want to understand the true risk that these volatile train cars pose to our region.

FracTracker and CREATE Lab will use the data collected during this project to analyze the frequency and risk of crude oil freight trains passing through the Pittsburgh area, but we need your help.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns at (412) 589-9411 or rob@threeriverswaterkeeper.org. We hope to see you there!