Re: John Peschong’s Viewpoint, “Local responders are up to task,” Aug. 23:
While you can spend thousands of hours on simulated disasters, the only response to a cataclysmic fiery explosion of a crude-oil train is to let it burn.
A three-car fire requires, according to the New York Office of Fire Prevention and Control, 80,000 gallons of water for laying down a fire-retardant foam blanket and cooling adjacent rail cars. Hence, the state recommends, if there is “NO life hazard and more than 3 tank cars are involved in fire, OFPC recommends LETTING THE FIRE BURN unless the foam and water supply required to control is available.”
High-hazard areas for derailments are primarily located in the mountains, with at least one such site along every rail route into California. Some highhazard areas are also located in more urban areas, such as in the San Bernardino, Riverside and San Luis Obispo regions.
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Yet California’s two major railroads have filed suit in federal court challenging a new state law requiring the railroads to come up with an oil spill prevention and response plan.
No one questions the bravery and the dedication of the responders who are our first line of defense. It’s the magnitude of the potential disaster.