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704,000 Residents in the Shadow of Philadelphia's Crude-by-Rail Infrastructure

Two major rail lines provide crude oil shipments to refineries and terminals in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. A surprising number of residents would face evacuation in the event of a fire on the route.
February 25, 2015, 5am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"Philadelphia-area refineries are among the busiest destinations for railroad shipments of highly volatile crude oil in the nation, and many of the mile-long trains pass through Center City and other population-dense neighborhoods in the region," according to the text accompanying an infographic and map of the crude oil train routes in the Philadelphia area.

Add up the population living near the routes (as illustrated by the infographic) and some 704,000 people live within a half-mile of crude oil train routes. That's a huge total considering that, "[in] the event of a fire involving an oil-tank car, federal transportation officials recommend evacuating people within a half-mile of the accident."

The crude-by-rail risk is important to keep in mind relative to plans by local energy industry interests to build a large pipeline as the centerpiece of a plan to transform Philadelphia into a global energy hub.

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Published on Saturday, February 21, 2015 in Philadelphia Inquirer
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