By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Last month’s oil train derailment and explosion in West Virginia has prompted environmentalists in Pennsylvania to sound the alarm about the potential dangers that residents here face.

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As oil shipments from North Dakota’s Baaken shale deposit have boomed in recent years, there has been a corresponding rise in derailments.

A report released this week by the groups Penn Environment and the Frac Tracker Alliance shows that nearly four million Pennsylvanians live within the potential evacuation zone of an oil train accident, including 700,000 at risk here in Philadelphia.

Penn Environment’s David Masur says residents are being left in the dark.

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“The train companies and oil companies aren’t even required to tell local communities about oil trains travelling through their backyards and how much oil they’re carrying and what their plans are in case of real dire accidents,” he noted.

Masur says the city has flirted with disaster several times in recent years:

“Just four weeks ago we had a train derailment with oil trains in South Philly, right by the stadium. A near miss, luckily no explosions.”

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Later this month, a City Council committee safety panel will take a look at the dangers posed by oil trains.