“These are not empty:” Idle tankers in Milwaukee’s central city sparks crude oil concerns

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MILWAUKEE -- A press conference in Milwaukee on Wednesday, July 6th comes on the three year anniversary of an oil train derailment and explosion in Quebec, which killed 47 people. The tanker cars involved passed through Milwaukee, on their way to Canada. Now, crude oil concerns continue to serve as a subject of controversy in Milwaukee's central city.

Rail yard near N. 35th and Marion

Rail yard near N. 35th and Marion

Community leaders, activist groups and business owners come together on Wednesday, for a call to action.

"As we talk about making this safe, we want to talk about how we eliminate any future hazard," said George Martin, 350.org Milwaukee.

George Martin

George Martin

"The railroad should be candid about the very real risks present here," said Eric Hansen, Citizens Acting for Rail Safety (CARS).

"This is a very hazardous situation for the fragile businesses that line this corridor," said Beth Sathagian, Vanguard Sculpture Services. tankers

"You can't park them anywhere but in the city," said Fred Royal, Milwaukee NAACP president.

Fred Royal

Fred Royal

The reason for the meeting is because the group says there are more than 300 railroad tankers which sit idle in the neighborhood near 34th and Capitol, in Milwaukee's central city.

"They do have residual crude oil on them, causing or setting up a potential catastrophic hazard in our community," said Royal.

Royals says a May letter from the Federal Railroad Administration, to a Milwaukee congresswoman, serves as confirmation that more than 100 of the tanker cars have residual oil.tankers

This, despite a statement from the representative of the tankers' owner, Wisconsin and Southern Railroad:

"These tanker cars have absolutely nothing in them and are empty. It's important to know that our company does not haul any crude oil whatsoever."

"These are not "empty" tank cars, they still contain residue amounts of crude oil, or the "1267" placard would not be there," said Hansen.

Eric Hansen

Eric Hansen

Several of those speaking add, ultimately, they'd like this method of shipping crude oil to be abandoned altogether.

Wisconsin and Southern Railroad wants to reiterate that the tankers have been purged and pose no threat to the community.

The dangers of crude oil trains have been the focus of several FOX6 investigations.tankers

CLICK HERE to access FOX6's award-winning series "Risk on the Rails."

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