Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Kevin's Oil Spill

The new oil crisis: Exploding trains

These dangerous moments on the rails raise questions about the safety of transporting increasing amounts of oil in mile-long chains of tank cars, some of them decades old. Community leaders and activists from Oregon to Alabama to Albany call the trains a disaster waiting to happen — 

5 times Canadians were utterly misled about the Northern Gateway pipeline

 via PressProgress

What better time to take a trip down memory lane about Enbridge's PR department's most misleading blunders. 
Their friends around Harper's cabinet table also made their fair share.
Here's a recap of five of them.


via VICE

The derailing of four tank cars loaded with a flammable, explosive oil product, and the lack of safety measures when they were put back, has left some residents of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation near Sarnia wondering if their safety is being properly guarded. The native lands are in the midst of the cluster of more than 60 oil and chemical industries known as “Canada’s Chemical Valley”—an area that VICE released a documentary on last year.The four cars, part of a nine-car train, came off the tracks on a short rail spur leading from Suncor’s Sarnia refinery May 2 while travelling at low speed, but stayed “upright and intact,” confirmed Suncor spokesperson Nicole Fisher. The cars were fully loaded with toluene, a refinery product being sent to a company called Parachem in Montreal. Toluene is a natural part of petroleum, and is a flammable and explosive liquid with a sweet, pungent odour that evaporates quickly in air, according to information from Health Canada.

Read more here:

Washington residents rail against oil shipments

via KOMO4
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Numerous speakers told a state Senate committee Tuesday that they oppose the rapid increase in railcars carrying crude oil from the Bakken fields of North Dakota and Montana through the state.
The Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee met in Spokane, a major railroad hub for the northern United States, to take testimony on a bill that seeks to improve the safety of those oil shipments.
But nearly all the members of the public who spoke attacked the measure as too friendly to the oil and railroad industries.

Fire experts push special teams for oil train blazes

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A pair of Texans with decades of firefighting experience are encouraging state and local government leaders to consider establishing SWAT-like response teams for crude oil train fires.
A series of derailments of trains loaded with crude oil in the past year has exposed numerous safety vulnerabilities, including the integrity of the rail cars, the condition of the tracks and the way the trains are operated.
It’s also revealed a yawning gap in emergency response. Most fire departments across the country are simply not trained or equipped to fight the enormous fires seen in recent derailments.

Six homes near Buhl evacuated after train derailment

TUSCALOOSA COUNTY, AL -The Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office issued a mandatory evacuation for six residences near Sipsey Valley Road and 16000 Crosscut Drive after a train derailed earlier this afternoon. 

According to the TCSO, a train carrying oil derailed this afternoon. None of the oil has spilled, but anyone within 1,000 feet of the derailment has been ordered to leave due to the threat of fire. 

Residents were allowed back to their homes shortly after 4:15 p.m. 


UPDATE: According to a spokeswoman from ABS Railroad, 7 cars went off the tracks around 3:00 Monday afternoon, near Sipsey Valley Road and Crosscut Drive in the Buhl Community. Six of those cars were carrying crude oil and one was transporting paper.

Texas Oil And Gas Regulator Bans Its Staff From Talking To The Media
via Think Progress
Texas is one of the top oil- and gas-producing states in the nation. But if you’re a member of the media, don’t expect to get an interview with the people who regulate the industry in the state.
That’s because the agency in charge of regulating Texas’ oil and gas industry has barred its staff from talking to the media, instituting a policy that instead funnels all media requests through a spokesperson, who doesn’t allow reporters access to agency officials. As the AP reports, the Railroad Commission of Texas, which is one of the largest state agencies of its kind in the country, approved a policy barring staff from talking to reporters in August, about a year after the agency’s new executive director Milton Rister, a former aide to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, took office. A spokesperson for the Railroad Commission of Texas told the AP that the decision to bar staff from media interviews came from Rister. Before Rister took office, the AP reports, Railroad Commission staff were regularly available for interviews.

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