CARS – Milwaukee Area


Oil trains close to residences and businesses in Walkers Point, just south of downtown Milwaukee. Photo by Brian Chiu.

Hazardous Cargo and the Port of Milwaukee

Citizens Acting for Rail Safety — Milwaukee Area formed in May of 2015 as a new chapter of the successful CARS regional coalition.

We are a non-partisan grassroots citizens’ organization working for the health, safety, and quality of life of people, communities and the environment threatened by ill-advised rail transportation of dangerous materials.

We work to raise the visibility of dangers to our community and to establish citizens’ right to know and participate in decisions about trains carrying dangerous materials through our neighborhoods.

We work to get attention focused on whether the railroads are adequately inspecting and maintaining their tracks and bridges – especially because the railroads have refused to share inspection reports with either the media or local government officials — and whether the railroads and our local officials have adequately prepared for possible emergencies.

Art by Sue Bietila

We also focus on the danger of an oil train derailment polluting our water. These trains cross many bridges and run along rivers for many miles as well as pass near the harbor of Lake Michigan.

In the past few months, we’ve held press conferences, attended City Council hearings, and organized special events such as a birthday party for OldRusty (a 99-year old railroad bridge in Walkers Pt.) and a Convergence at the Confluence paddle for clean water advocates.

We invite you to join other community members in taking action.

Help spread the word to your neighbors and friends about the dangers of this oil pipeline on wheels.

  • Invite some of your neighbors over for coffee and conversation. Ask for a discussion in your neighborhood association or faith community.

We’re available to come lead the discussion and/or to speak to groups.

  • When you see oil trains in the news, consider writing a letter to the editor or calling in to talk radio shows.

Contact your elected officials at the local, state and national levels and let them know you are concerned and want them to act.

Some possible questions to ask:

  • What dangerous materials (including oil) are being transported through my community?
  • What’s the emergency plan if a train derails and there is a possibility of fire and explosion? How will citizens within the half-mile danger zone learn of an emergency?
  • What’s the plan if oil spills in our local rivers or Lake Michigan? What about during the winter?
  • How do we know that the bridges, tracks, train cars are being well maintained?
  • What are my local/state officials doing to lobby the federal government for stronger safety regulations – for safer cargo, tank cars, speeds, routes – and to fully fund emergency preparedness?

Contacting public officials is easy and so important! Click here for contact info

Want to get more involved? Contact us to join our steering committee, to get involved in your local chapter or to learn how to start your own chapter.



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