Thursday, June 26, 2014

Matt Landon interviewed by Al Jazeera English TV and VAN solidarity statement

Thanks to Al Jazeera English TV for interviewing VAN volunteer Matt Landon on June 24-25, 2014 in Vancouver, WA about our Twitter Train Watch activities.  The piece should air the week of July 1-7.  Stay tuned for more details. 
We would also like to condemn the illegal jailing, unfair trial, and harsh sentencing of Al Jazeera journalists Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed in Egypt this week.  These journalists were documenting pro-government protests and two of them received seven year prison sentences while the third received a 10 year sentence.  An attack on journalists anywhere is an attack on journalists everywhere. 
"Today three colleagues and friends were sentenced, and will continue to be kept behind bars for doing a brilliant job of being great journalists. 'Guilty' of covering stories with great skill and integrity. 'Guilty' of defending people’s right to know what is going on in their world," said Al Anstey, Al Jazeera English’s managing director.
Here is a list of Egyptian Embassies in the United States.
Please take a moment to send an email and make a phone call asking that the Egyptian government release these journalists.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Citizens Receive Railroad Information in Washington

SERC - US DOT Emergency Order Re: Bakken Crude Oil by Rail

On June 6, 2014, an Emergency Order issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) went into effect requiring railroad carriers operating trains transporting 1,000,000 gallons or more of Bakken crude oil in a single train to provide information to the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) regarding the estimated volumes and frequencies of the train traffic implicated. Specifically, the notification must:
  • Provide reasonable estimate of the number of trains and volumes per week, through each county.
  • Identify and describe the petroleum crude oil expected to be transported in accordance with 49 CFR part 172, subpart C.
  • Provide all applicable emergency response information required by 49 CFR part 172 subpart G.
  • Identify the routes over which the materials will be transported.
  • Provide at least one point of contact at the railroad (including name, title, phone number, and address) responsible for serving as the point of contact for SERCs and relevant emergency responders related to the railroad’s transportation of Bakken crude oil.
Railroad carriers shall update notifications prior to making any material changes in the estimated volumes or frequencies of trains traveling through a county (U.S. DOT considers any increase or decrease of 25% or more in the number of implicated trains per week to be a material change). For more information, see the U.S. DOT website:!docketDetail;D=DOT-OST-2014-0067.
Below notification process currently being implemented:
  • Railroad carrier notification reports received by the SERC are being sent to those emergency management organizations with a “need to know” (the counties/cities/tribes the oil trains travel through).
  • All railroad notifications reports sent by the SERC to emergency management organizations contain the following direction: “Each receiving agency is independently responsible for compliance with all state and federal laws and regulations concerning the disclosure and protection of this information, including but not limited to compliance with the state Public Records Act, ch. 42.56 RCW, and 49 CFR 1520, as applicable.”
  • Anyone other than an emergency responder with a need to know who would like to see a copy of the railroads’ notifications will be asked to file a Public Records Request (PRR).
  • SERC expects that all agencies that receive this information will comply with applicable state and federal law as directed
Railroad Notifications Released Pursuant to Public Record Request:

This information can be found at

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Twitter Oil Train Watch starts up in Missouri

For more info go to
Thanks to Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE) for starting the Missouri Oil Train Watch.  MORE will utilize cameras to enhance their Train Watch activities.  You can follow them on Twitter by searching for hashtag #mooiltrainwatch
MORE can be reached at 314-862-2249 or 314-780-3734 and by email at   

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

VAN organizes actions for International Week of Action July 6-13, 2014

All actions are listed at

These actions are organized to honor the 47 people who lost their lives on July 6, 2013 in the first exploding oil trains event in Canada. 

July 6 Twitter Oil Train Watch—If you can’t sit by the tracks please watch the Vancouver City Hall webcam 
When you see a 100% oil train Tweet the time(am/pm), city, direction of train travel(left to right across the screen is westbound), and the hashtag #waoiltrainwatch   Search in your city for webcams that are pointed at the railroad tracks and start a Train Watch in your town or community. 
July 7 File for public information from your state Emergency Management Agency about the DOT Emergency Order of May 7, 2014 requiring the railroads to provide information about crude oil shipments through each state.   We have the potential to cost the railroads money to deal with us as they may have to get a court injunction (at least $300 each) against each person that files a request for information.  
For more info about DOT Emergency Order--   
Information on public records request in WA-- 
Here is the request form for Washington state--
July 8 DOT Tuesday—Protest at the Department of Transportation.  12pm 11018 NE 51st Circle
Vancouver, WA   DOT has the authority and oversight of hauling of Hazardous Materials on the railways and they can end this explosive situation now by banning the use of DOT 111 railcars to haul any type of crude oil.  Organize protests at every DOT across the country sending them a clear signal that we won’t allow crude oil of any kind to be shipped in the outdated and unsafe DOT 111 and DOT 111a rail car fleet since these cars are vulnerable to regular off gassing, rupture, and explosion in our communities.  If you can’t make it to the protest call them at 360 905 2000
July 9 Say No to Nustar—Protest at Nustar.  12pm 5420 Fruit Valley Rd, Vancouver, WA  The Nustar terminal in Vancouver, WA was able to get its air quality permits from the slimy Southwest Clean Air Agency without public comment during the time when everyone’s attention was focused on mobilizing against the proposed Tesoro-Savage oil export terminal.  We have to demand that Washington’s Governor intervene in this 50,000 barrels a day Bakken crude oil terminal which flies in the face of the Vancouver City resolution banning the shipping of Bakken crude oil through our town.   
July 10  No Explosive Oil Trains or Oil Port  Rally / strategy session--  North side of Esther Short Park corner of 8th and Esther Short, Vancouver, WA  6pm-7pm  featuring the band Stone in Love a “Journey cover band” ( look for the No Oil Port sign)  
July 11 FRA Friday—Protest at the Federal Railroad Administration.  12pm 500 Broadway, Suite 240 Vancouver, WA. Organize protests at every FRA office across the country sending them a clear signal that we won’t allow crude oil of any kind to be shipped in the outdated and unsafe DOT 111 and DOT 111a rail car fleet since these cars are vulnerable to regular off gassing, rupture, and explosion in our communities. If you can’t make it to the protest call them at 360 696 7536.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Call for volunteers around the world to monitor oil trains via webcam

Vancouver City Hall live webcam  *** You may have to refresh the screen to get real time images.****

Vancouver Action Network has discovered that Vancouver City Hall has a publicly accessible webcam pointed at the railroad tracks which we can now use to monitor for oil trains.  We are calling on volunteers around the world to help us monitor 100% oil trains coming through our town.  It is easy to identify the 100% oil trains because they are 1 mile long and only contain black cylindrical rail cars with the red diamond shaped placard 1267.  Please monitor this Vancouver City Hall webcam and use Twitter to send a Tweet containing the time(am/pm listed on the webcam), direction of train travel (left to right across the screen is westbound),  city, and the hashtag  #waoiltrainwatch

Please search in your cities for webcams which show railroad tracks and start a Train Watch using them and Twitter.    If you have any questions please contact us.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Call to Action— Nationwide protests and formation of an International Oil Train Activists movement

This is a call for activists to join in creating an International Oil Train Activists movement and to help organize mass non-violent protests across the North American continent against explosive oil trains.
We have three nationwide protest actions.  

First contact your state Emergency Management Agency and fill out a public records request for information which the railroads have provided to the EMA’s in relation to DOT Emergency Order DOT-OST-2014-0067 and which was due by June 7, 2014. 
For more info about DOT Emergency Order--   

We have filed an information request here in Washington state and the EMA informed us that the railroad would likely seek a court injunction against our request.  This is GREAT because it means that the railroad is spending between several hundred and several thousand dollars to keep one person from one group from getting this information!  Let’s see how many people we can get to request this information and how much money we can cost the railroads.   We plan to request this information in 49 US states.  

When you request info from your state EMA please let us know

Since the railroads won’t release their oil train information we can just generate the information ourselves.  You can start a 100% Oil Train Watch in your city, town, or neighborhood by using Twitter on a computer or smart phone.  If you see a 100% oil train Tweet the time, location, direction of train travel, and your state’s abbreviation in the hashtag such as #waoiltrainwatch for Washington state  or #tnoiltrainwatch for Tennessee.  By watching and recording these trains we can be a warning siren for first responders, elected officials and the general public with real time information.  We can also use this information to provide a check on the info the railroads provide to the state EMAs, and on possible total oil train volume violations of air quality permits of current export facilities.        

Let us know you are Tweeting about 100% oil trains at

The Department of Transportation and Federal Railroad Administration are the two agencies that regulate Hazardous Materials shipping via railroads.  We demand that they immediately issue an Emergency Order halting the hauling of any type of crude oil in the outdated and unsafe DOT 111 and DOT 111a railcars.  By organizing a protest in your own city or state you will be joining in the growing movement to bring a halt to these explosive oil trains before the next city is vaporized, life is lost, or environment spoiled.     
The Department of Transportation has the authority to deem the DOT 111 and DOT 111 a railcar fleet unsafe for hauling explosive crude oil yet they have been dragging their feet on taking real action.  We demand they take immediate action.  Each state has multiple regional DOT offices and we need protests at each one.   
July 6, 2014 marks the one year anniversary of the first major oil train explosion in Canada which took the lives of 47 people.  The week of July 6-13, 2014 is an international week of action to mark this anniversary and make sure these folk’s lives were not lost in vain.   Your actions should not be limited to this one week as we are dealing with an entrenched oil and rail industry and don’t settle for anything less than the a complete ban on any oil shipped by DOT 111 and DOT 111a cars.  

Go to- to list your protest. 
When you organize a protest please contact us at    
Department of Transportation state/ regional offices and headquarters in Washington DC--
Federal Railroad Administration regional offices --
Headquarters Washington DC  
Region 1 Cambridge, MA Region 2 Crum Lynne, PA Region 3 Atlanta, GA  Region 4 Chicago, IL Region 5 Fort Worth, TX Region 6 Kansas City, MO  Region 7 Sacramento, CA  Region 8 Vancouver, WA

Consider attending the Washington Oil Train Summit August 22-23, 2014 at Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA.  More info at