WEST NYACK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Freight trains travel too fast through Rockland County, too many of the tanker cars are unsafe, and there’s not enough coordination with rail companies, U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey says.

Lowey, D-Westchester/Rockland, and several other elected officials called Monday for the U.S. Department of Transportation to set stricter standards on freight trains, WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported.

The pleas came during a news conference at Pineview Road near Western Highway in West Nyack, where a freight train collided with a truck carrying vehicles on Dec. 6. In that accident, the tanker train had 99 empty cars.

Rockland County Sheriff Louis Falco said the crash was a warning.

“Had these things came over and went into our waterway, we would have contaminated our whole water source here,” Falco said.

Environmentalists say that more than 1 million people rely on drinking water from the area.

“This is not only a danger to the safety of the people of our community, but a tremendous danger to our environment,” Lowey said.

“DOT must issue formal, enforceable rules that can be used to hold industry accountable and protect the public,” she added.

Also attending the news conference were Rockland County legislators Harriet Cornell and Alden Wolfe and Clarkstown Town Supervisor Alexander Gromack.

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