By Jim Melwert
ROYERSFORD, Pa. (CBS) — More than one million gallons of crude oil go by train through Pennsylvania. Much of that, Montgomery County officials say, passes through their county, on rails along the Schuylkill River.
With recent high-profile derailments in the news, county officials gathered today to give an update on emergency preparedness. Montgomery County emergency management personnel were joined by the county commissioners in Royersford, outside the corporate headquarters of Lewis Environmental, a company that responds to such emergencies across the country.
Montgomery County commissioner Val Arkoosh says the amount of crude oil transported by rails has skyrocketed, up 5,000 percent, as oil drawn from North Dakota shale is moved across the country to refineries, mainly in the northeast.
“In less than a decade, the number of carloads of crude has increased from 9,500 to nearly half a million,” she noted.
County officials say that over the past few years, in addition to safety exercises, they’ve taken other steps to address potential disasters — such as buying a foam pumper fire truck, paid for with a federal grant. And they say that next year they’ve planned a full-scale exercise on dealing with a crude-oil train accident.