Public Safety

Recent Stories

Maine’s D.C. delegation raises doubts about fed response to hazardous materials rail shipments

Sen. Susan Collins

If a railroad spilled thousands of gallons of oil in Maine, no one in the state – or in Washington – knows what the railroads would do or if they’re prepared for such a disaster. Members of Maine's congressional delegation say that’s the reason they are pushing federal regulators to strengthen planning, response and mitigation requirements for railroads that transport hazardous materials such as highly flammable crude oil. Continue Reading →

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New US rail safety rules will not apply to all trains carrying explosive crude oil

Jackman Railroad Photo 2

Just as the state has revealed that crude oil shipments by rail have resumed along the state’s rail lines, Maine state emergency officials say new federal rules about shipping hazardous materials such as crude by rail don't go far enough. Continue Reading →

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Maine fire departments signing up for more rail safety training

AUGUSTA- Ever since a crude oil train disaster decimated a Quebec village’s downtown last July, more and more Maine fire departments have been requesting training on rail safety.

“I’m booking right now straight into November,” said Richard Towle, who coordinates such training as a law enforcement liaison for the Federal Rail Administration. Continue Reading →

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After ‘end of the world’ explosion, Quebec town tries to find hope

Yannick Gagne, at his Lac-Mégantic bar, the Musicafé, before a train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded on July 6, 2013, creating a fire that killed 30 people in the bar and reduced it to cinders.

Eight months ago, the people of Lac-Mégantic thought the world was ending.
A runaway 72-car train carrying a volatile variety of crude oil derailed and exploded in this community of 6,000, killing 47 people and destroying the town center.

Continue Reading →

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Maine responders need to be better prepared to fight Lac Mégantic-type derailment

Jackman Railroad Photo 2

Less than a year ago, a runaway train carrying crude oil derailed in Lac-Mégantic, a small Quebec town ten miles from the Maine border.

Thousands of gallons of the highly flammable crude oil spilled from ruptured tank cars, setting off fireballs in the town’s center that killed 47 people and destroyed 30 buildings. Some bodies were likely vaporized and never identified.

Continue Reading →

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Some pharmacists get their licenses back despite history of drug abuse

Prescription pain pills cropped

The sole purpose of the board that regulates pharmacists in Maine is to “protect the public health and welfare,” according to state law. But in thirteen cases over the last decade the board has jeopardized the public’s health by allowing people with a history of substance abuse and theft to hold a license to dispense drugs at pharmacies across the state. Continue Reading →

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“Best Investigative Reporting on US Guns You Might Have Missed” includes Center’s gun subsidies story

The Investigative Fund, a project of the Nation Institute, has included the Center's story on gun subsidies, "States have subsidized makers of assault rifles to tune of $19 million," on their list of six stories that constitute the "Best Investigative Reporting on US Guns You Might Have Missed." We're proud to join our investigative reporting colleagues at Mother Jones, The Tampa Bay Times, The Chicago Reporter and City Limits on the Nation Institute's list. You can see the entire list here. Continue Reading →

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States have subsidized makers of assault rifles to tune of $19 million

Assault rifle from Smith and Wesson online catalog

Taxpayers across the country are subsidizing the manufacturers of assault rifles used in multiple mass killings, including the massacre of 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. last month. Continue Reading →

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EPA investigating toxic laundry emissions in New England

Mark Spiro, CT DEEP air pollution control engineer Photo Tony Bacewicz

The moment Mark Spiro walked into G&K Services, an industrial laundry in Waterbury, Conn., the steamy air stung his eyes and made his head ache. The place reeked of chemical solvents: methyl ethyl ketone, xylene, toluene – the sickly sweet scents of spray paint, permanent markers and model glue. Continue Reading →

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