Marcus Stern is a third-generation journalist who has covered a range of local, national and foreign issues for Copley News Service, ProPublica and Reuters. He shared the 2006 Pulitzer Prize and the George Polk Award for work leading to the jailing of a corrupt congressman, a senior CIA official and two defense contractors. That led him to co-author a book titled, “The Wrong Stuff: The Extraordinary Saga of Randy ‘Duke’ Cunningham, the Most Corrupt Congressman Ever Caught.” In his long career he has covered border security, immigration, politics, war, conflict and disaster with assignments across the United States and in Haiti, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
North America’s Explosive Oil-by-Rail Problem
By Marcus Stern and Sebastian Jones, Reporting for InsideClimate News
Published December 8, 2014
Regulators in the United States knew they had to act fast. A train hauling 2 million gallons of crude oil from North Dakota had exploded in the Canadian town of Lac-Megantic, killing 47 people. Now they had to assure Americans a similar disaster wouldn’t happen south of the border, where the U.S. oil boom is sending highly volatile crude oil every day over aging, often defective rails in vulnerable railcars. Read more…
How to Prevent an Oil Train Disaster
Published May 19, 2015 in The New York Times
Six days before last week’s deadly Amtrak derailment, a train carrying crude oil went off the tracks in rural North Dakota and burst into flames. Thankfully, no one was killed. But it should not take a deadly disaster — like the one that took 47 lives in the town of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, in July 2013 — for us to grasp the risk from oil trains. Read more
Dangerous Trains, Aging Rails
Published March 12, 2015 in The New York Times
A CSX freight train ran off the rails last month in rural Mount Carbon, W. Va. One after another, exploding rail cars sent hellish fireballs hundreds of feet into the clear winter sky. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency, and the fires burned for several days. The Feb. 16 accident was one of a series of recent fiery derailments highlighting the danger of using freight trains to ship crude oil from wellheads in North Dakota to refineries in congested regions along America’s coastlines. Read more
Activists fear dangers of oil trains remain unaddressed by new rule
Published April 8, 2015 in Aljazeera America
Despite a surge in oil tank car blasts, Obama stops short of strict regulatory action demanded by trackside reside residents.