In our View: Skip This Slice of Oil Pie
North Dakota's Bakken boom could aid Clark County, but terminal wrong tack
via The Columbian
Following a series of derailments and explosions throughout North America, the idea of transporting 15 million gallons of crude through Clark County each day has generated plenty of interest from local residents. Barry Cain, who is planning a multibillion-dollar waterfront development in Vancouver, has said the oil terminal would be incompatible with his project, and the Vancouver City Council has formally voted to oppose any project that would increase the amount of oil-bearing trains traveling through the city. The oil terminal plan is currently under review by the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council.All of that has been well-documented over the past year, but The Columbian's series — which was published Aug. 17 and Aug. 18 — helped bring the issues into sharp relief. And along the way, it did little to suggest that the benefits of an oil terminal would outweigh the drawbacks for Vancouver.~HT Don Steinke
THE FIGHT FOR CLEAN AIR
Petition via EarthJustice
Explosions and chemical clouds have been a part of life for communities living in the shadow of oil refineries. The EPA has finally begun developing a plan to control these toxic time bombs—and you can help make the difference. Take action today!
Oil train terminal near Clatskanie gets key air pollution permit from Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
via The Oregonian
The terminal's new permit allows it to move 1.8 billion gallons of oil annually, enough to bring 50 oil trains per month through Portland and small Columbia River towns like Scappoose, Rainier and St. Helens. That's twice the number of trains it can currently handle.
"We are pleased to have received our permit, which is the next step toward infrastructure upgrades that will create hundreds of jobs during the construction phase and new permanent jobs when the facility is fully operational," Slifka said.
Massachusetts-based Global Partners blew past earlier permit limits, drawing a$117,292 fine from the DEQ in March. Though the state allowed the terminal to unload 50 million gallons annually, it moved 300 million gallons last year.
The facility began as a state-subsidized ethanol fuel terminal, but went bankrupt in 2009. In June 2012, the DEQ quickly approved a routine permit change that allowed it to start moving crude oil instead of ethanol from trains onto barges, saying the shift had an incidental effect on the site's air pollution.
Big Rail Cites Bin Laden, Al Qaeda to Fend Off Oil-by-Rail Route Transparencyvia desmogblog
While many states around the U.S. havereleased information to the public about the frequency and routes of trains carrying oil obtained from hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in North Dakota’sBakken Shale basin, holdouts still remain. Why the delay? Homeland security concerns, claim some companies. ....“The most recent edition of Inspire magazine, March 2014, the online, English-language propaganda publication of [Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula], presents a full-page collage depicting varied images…in order to construct an explosive device,” reads Carbaugh’s affidavit. “Among these images are a derailed passenger train and a partly covered note paper listing cities in the [U.S.] as well as the terms ‘Dakota’ and ‘Train crude oil.’” Carbaugh also cited Osama bin Laden, the late Al-Qaeda international ring-leader, in his affidavit.“Among the materials seized in the May 1, 2011, raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, were notes indicating interest in ‘tipping’ or ‘toppling’ trains — that is causing their derailment,” Carbaugh wrote.
Pepsi Cans on Wheels: Stopping Explosive Oil Trains
This problem has grown fast because of the expansion of fracking. These rolling hazards spilt more flammable crude oil last year than in the previous forty. Records from the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) reveal zero incidents in 2009 involving crude oil transportation by rail. By 2012, that number ballooned to 86. And halfway through 2013, PHMSA tracked 85.
The Ford Pinto of Rail Cars
The culprit in this sharp increase in rail car explosions is a type of legacy train car called the DOT-111. This train car, originally fashioned in the 1960s to haul commodities like corn syrup, has now, in light of the enormous demand, become the transit mode of choice for the oil and gas industry. The former mayor of the Village of Barrington Illinois- an upscale community north of Chicago- called the DOT-111s “the Ford Pinto of rail cars”. One Washington DC- based consultant for the rail industry described the DOT-111s as “Pepsi cans on wheels”.