BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Baltimore is moving forward on a proposal to stunt the growth of its oil terminals.
The Baltimore City Council is moving forward on a measure that would ban new crude oil terminals from doing business in Baltimore and prevent the two existing terminals from expanding.
Advocates say the crude oil moving into the city is putting thousands of families at risk.
The measure would effectively cap how much crude oil Baltimore can handle, preventing the city from becoming a hub for volatile imports.
“We have 11 cosponsors but it’s been a tough struggle to get this moment,” said councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke.
The rally cry outside City Hall came from council members and neighbors in the so called “Blast Zone.” They say 165,000 Baltimore residents living near the rails are at risk.
“Now is the time to ban new crude oil terminals in the city once and for all, and prevent a surge of crude oil shipments under the Trump Administration,” one advocate said.
Oil train derailments and explosions have killed dozens across North America, but the city doesn’t have power over federal rails, only the port.
Baltimore Industrial Group says the restrictive bill would simply send business somewhere else without making the city safer.
“Will this bill ban trains carrying crude oil through the city in the future? The answer is no,” said Jeff Fraley of the Baltimore Industrial Group. “Interstate commerce is protected by the federal government.”
Similar measures have been passed in Portland and Vancouver, but Baltimore would be the first city to do this on the East Coast.
The measure moves onto a second reading at council on Monday.