Lawlor not leading on rail safety

Posted10/22/2016 1:00 AM

Regarding a recent Daily Herald article, I take exception to Aaron Lawlor's passing the buck about protecting the people of Lake County.

There are five railroad tracks with thousands of tank cars passing through Lake County while carrying millions of gallons of oil. These accidents-waiting-to-happen traverse over 25 communities from Barrington to Winthrop Harbor and Highland Park to Antioch.


Is each community individually supposed to deal with safety, traffic, pollution issues caused by the trains? Most communities, grappling with limited resources and influence, are unable to deal with potential catastrophes. The county should spearhead efforts to improve safety standards and mitigate impacts.

The county should work with municipalities, state and federal officials to provide the best information and develop safety measures. Instead of riding around on Metra for a county video and "sitting" on the National Association of Counties transportation committee, why hasn't Lawlor initiated efforts for safety procedures and supplied information to his district and county residents?

Has he directed the Emergency Management Agency to do something? What should local fire departments have on hand? Any training needed? Are there any evacuation plans? Is there a written preparedness plan? Are train derailments/explosions part of the Emergency Alert System? What if the oil gets into our waterways? What are schools supposed to do?

If the need and demand for oil isn't going to go away in the short term, isn't that all the more reason to do something now? Did the county submit comments regarding railroad oil spills as requested by the Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration?

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Is our safety on hold until the federal and state governments act?

That's not leadership, that's irresponsible.

Jane Partridge

Lake Forest

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