On Sunday 31-January the Coalition to ban Unsafe Oil Trains, and 350NJ held a rally in Bogota to increase public awareness about the shipment of crude oil through Bergen, County. Approximately 60- 70 people gather on the south walk of the Albert Graf Bridge over the railroad tracks. Carrying signs, and chanting slogans they urged the public to learn more about the type of effects these trains have on the surrounding communities. The protesters did cause a number of cars to slow in order to observe the proceeding and many also hooked to show their support.
The rally then moved down W. Main St to the Post Office to listening to speakers talk about the passage of oil trains through their towns. The First to speak was Bogota Mayor Chris Keleman who talked about the need to give small towns, like Bogota, assurances that these trains are safe to transport this oil. Also speaking on behalf of the Bogota Borough Council was Councilwoman Kathy Ferris. Other representing Bogota were Councilwoman Daniele Fede, and Councilman John Mitchell. Assemblyman Tim Eustace, from the 38th District of New Jersey talked the need to have legislation passed so these type of trains can be made as safe as possible. Mayor Norman Schmelz of Bergenfield, along with Dr. Henry Pruitt from the Teaneck Council also address the crowd to ask for help in making the transportation of oil, and other hazardous materials as safe as possible.
A number of speakers also talked about how the development of cleaner from of energy such as wind, and solar will help reduce the need for fossil based fuels. Another point made was the need to expanded the use electric vehicles, and to reduce the idling of trains, to improve the air quality of New Jersey.
There was a mixed group of people who attended this rally, with residents of Bogota simply walking from their homes to members of nearby communities showing support for all of Bergen County. Senior Citizens were joined by College Student and other concerned residents of a variety of ages. All wanting a healthier and safer environment to live in New Jersey.
For more information about 350.org and their mission to promote a safer climite please to to their website at: 350.org and https://www.facebook.com/350NJ
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