Crude-by-rail opponents set to march and rally in Richmond Saturday

Crude-by-rail opponents set to march and rally in Richmond Saturday
Photo posted by protesters or supporters on Twitter

Local residents and environmental groups who oppose the transport of crude oil by rail into Richmond are planning a march and rally in the city on Saturday.

At 11 a.m., an estimated 300 people will march from Collins Street and W. Bissell Avenue (just east of Athison Village Park) to a rally location at Washington Park (E. Richmond Avenue at S. Garrard Boulevard).

The march and rally are being held in conjunction with a national week of action opposing train shipments of highly volatile crude oil throughout North America. Environmentalists argue the shipments are vulnerable to explosions and fires, as evidenced by a spate of derailments and spills in recent years.

Saturday’s action commemorates the most dramatic and deadly incident to date in Lac Megantic, Quebec on July 6, 2013, when train cars carrying Bakken crude from North Dakota derailed, causing an explosion and fire that killed 47 people.

Richmond officials and residents have been concerned about the potential for derailments and explosions since the shipments began rolling into the local Kinder Morgan rail terminal last year. The public learned about the local shipments through a media investigation and have been decrying the lack of a public hearing.

Groups leading the local march include Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Communities for a Better Environment and ForestEthics, according to a statement.

Crude-by-rail shipments are not transported to the Chevron Richmond refinery, which only receives crude oil by ship.