RICHMOND (KPIX 5) — Officials in Richmond are making a new push to stop trains carrying cargo that they say is a disaster waiting to happen.

It’s happening at least a few times a week. One hundred car trains, rolling through Richmond, carrying dangerous cargo: highly flammable crude oil. KPIX 5 cameras caught the cargo being transported onto trucks at Richmond’s Kinder Morgan facility.

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The oil is called Bakken crude. And last year it leveled a town in Quebec when a train carrying it derailed.

In a letter to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Richmond’s city attorney said if a derailment happened in this city, “The potential blast zone would impact 27 schools…and most of the neighborhoods in Richmond.”

The letter also said the city of Richmond had no idea the trains were running, until an investigative report by KPIX 5 showed the operation in action. It urged the district to stop the trains.

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“The letter asks that they revoke the permit if possible and go through a complete environmental quality act review,” Lindsay told KPIX 5.

But when we spoke to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District months ago, they seemed to have no intention of doing that.

“We can’t hold up their permit because of public opposition,” said Jim Karas with the district. “As long as someone doesn’t increase their emissions, we give them a permit.”

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