Call for Solidarity Actions Against Oil Trains

oil trains 19th May 2014. Maine Earth First!/350 Maine call for Solidarity Actions Surrounding Superior Court Hearing in Fracked Bakken Crude Oil Train Case

On May 22nd two of three people who blockaded railroad tracks in Auburn last August, Doug Bowen and Jessie Dowling of Maine Earth First!, will have a hearing at the Androscoggin County Superior Court.

Last August, members of 350Maine and Maine Earth First! conducted a sit-in on the Pan Am railroad tracks in the center of Auburn to call attention to the ongoing dangers posed by the transportation of Bakken crude oil by rail.

This was 7 weeks after a trainload of the same oil exploded in Lac Megantic, killing 47. Doug Bowen and Jessie Dowling will face charges for this direct action and will present evidence for a competing harms defense – that committing a smaller harm was meant to prevent a larger one.

There have been at least 6 other major train derailments involving Bakken crude oil since Lac-Megantic. This train blockade was one of two blockades Maine Earth First! And 350 Maine took part in last summer.

Trains running through Maine carry crude from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota, where it is “fracked” or extracted by blasting a high pressure toxic cocktail deep into the ground to release oil from shale rock, polluting air and water in surrounding communities.

With hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” technology, oil that has long been impossible to extract is now the source of an explosive oil boom in the Midwest. Without enough pipelines to transport the Midwest crude to distant refineries, there has been a surge in the use of trains. Inspections of tracks are infrequent due to lack of resources to oversee them and a lack of concern for local communities by giant corporations/government.

Maine  EF!er being arrested after blockade

There have been many train derailments through-out the continent over the last year and a half other than Lac Megantic, including a 106-car-long oil train in Casselton, North Dakota which caused seven oil cars to explode and also caused an evacuation of 2,400 people, A CN freight train carrying crude oil in New Brunswick in January,

A 120-car Norfolk Southern train carrying heavy Canadian crude oil which derailed and spilled in western Pennsylvania also in January, and a CSX train that exploded in Lynchburg, Virginia carrying Bakken Crude Oil on May first, only to name a few.

In January the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued a Safety Alert concluding Bakken crude is more flammable than heavier oils. Hence the term “bomb trains.”

We are asking individuals and groups to take part in a day of action to bring attention to fracked oil, fracking in general (if you can tie in into your campaigns), unsafe trains carrying fossil fuels (Bakken Crude or otherwise), and/or any other connections you can make in your community.

Possible targets: Irving Oil, a corporation that receives oil from the Bakken Crude fields, and the corporation that was supposed to be the recipient of the oil that exploded in Lac Macgantic Corporations involved in fracking in the North Dakota Bakken Shale: Central Maine and Quebec Railroad if you are in Maine (or join us at the courthouse!) Places in your community where trains are rolling through with crude oil or other dangerous extreme energy substances.

Here is an example in Montana:

Ports that are an end point of dangerous trains. Here is one example in Washington:

Please keep us updated on any solidarity actions you take!

For more information, interviews, or to tell us about your action contact Christine:, or 207.505.5114