Emily GirschNov 12, 2017, 11:39 pmNov 13, 2017, 2:09 pm

North Bergenfield protest reignites oil train debate

Activist groups are hoping that Governor-Elect Phill Murphy will do more to safeguard the area from an accident

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NORTH BERGENFIELD — New Jersey residents are continuing to rally against CSX trains that carry oil through their cities and towns in the hopes that a Democratic governor-elect will put a safety bill back in play.

"Just knowing that there's oil on trains coming through this very densely populated area makes me very worried," Fort Lee resident Chris Nowell said.

Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, Jeff Tittel, who was protesting with several others in North Bergenfield on Sunday says the oil train safety bill that Gov. Chris Christie vetoed was about safety.

“The bill, S806, was passed by the legislature. Not to ban them, but to give local governments the tools to deal with these trains that come through, that they have first responder plans in place, that they have proper training, proper inspection of the track," Tittel said.

Christie vetoed the bill this past spring after the state's three largest railroads urged him to reject the bill due to privacy and security concerns. One of those railroad officials was former vice president of public safety at CSX, Howard Skip Elliot, whom president Trump recently nominated to serve as administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

"The guy who got our oil train safety bill vetoed is so terrifying to us. To have this person in charge of the whole country?" Paula Rogovin said.

The state legislature has never been able to override a Christie veto throughout his eight years in office.

Residents hope Governor-Elect Phil Murphy's views on clean energy and environmental safety will bring about change in 2018.

"He is pro-renewable energy and pro-safety of the people," Rogovin said.

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