FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 6, 2016
Vermonters Hold Vigil in Memory of Lac Mégantic Tragedy
On July 6th 2016 at 6:30 pm Vermonters came together at Burlington’s Battery Park in remembrance of the 47 persons who lost their lives on July 6, 2013 after an oil train derailed and exploded in Lac Mégantic, Quebec. In addition to the lives lost and buildings destroyed by the explosion, the resulting oil spill contaminated 75 miles of the Chaudière River and over half a million cubic meters of soil.
"What happened in Quebec was so tragic and completely needless,” said 350 Vermont volunteer Keri Ellis. “We have come together so that the residents of Lac Mégantic will know that their loss is remembered and to lend our voices to the call to ban oil trains in North America."
This year, the third annual Stop Oil Trains week of action will call attention to the threat of oil trains across North America, the people who are stopping them, and the need for 100% clean and safe energy.
The use of railroads to carry volatile crude oil has skyrocketed in the last five years, leading to derailments and explosions in nine U.S. states and three Canadian provinces, most recently in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge on June 3 of this year. The tracks on the western side of Lake Champlain, visible from the vigil site, carry shipments of the same crude oil every day, endangering residents and the environment throughout the region.
“The journey that this fossil fuel takes is dangerous every step of the way,” said Erin Moriarty a member of the 350 Vermont Burlington Node. “It is dangerous for people working on oil rigs in the Williston Basin, North Dakota, where on average, one person is killed every six weeks. It is dangerous for those people living alongside rail lines where the threat of derailments, oil spills, and explosions happens several times a year across the country. It is dangerous for us all; we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground for a safer planet.”
About 350Vermont: 350Vermont is a statewide organization in Vermont working to build a grassroots movement to reverse climate change. 350Vermont’s mission is to catalyze the cultural and systemic transformation needed to reverse climate change and return to 350 ppm of carbon in the atmosphere. Although we are an affiliated group of 350.org with a similar mission, 350VT is an independent organization, with local campaigns to divest the state pension fund, advocate for a carbon pollution tax, and stop any expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure.