Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Oil-By-Rail To Spur Major Traffic Jams

International Business Times  Sept 29, 2014

By Maria Gallucci - Life is slowing down in Bozeman, a small city in southern Montana near a major railroad. More shipments of Bakken Shale oil and local coal are passing through, and it’s taking drivers more time to cross the tracks and get around town. Fire trucks, ambulances and police cars have to wait while carload after carload chugs along. “It takes longer for those public safety services to get to us,” says Beth Kaeding, a Bozeman resident and conservationist....

... The GAO examined the Department of Transportation’s ongoing to work to establish train safety provisions in the wake of recent derailments and several serious oil accidents, including a deadly explosion in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. The investigators found that officials’ efforts “do not fully consider freight-related traffic congestion,” and that they have failed so far to “fully establish the federal role or identify goals, objectives or performance measures in this area.”....

.... In the Pacific Northwest, the congestion is making it harder for agricultural producers and other suppliers to ship their goods via rail. Last month, the operator of a refrigerated rail service, Cold Train, said it was suspending service at a Washington port due to long delays on rail lines and a near-doubling of transit times, in part because of Bakken crude shipments. The service would have guaranteed to deliver Washington’s apples, cherries and potatoes to Midwest markets within three days, according to the company....

.... The GAO report found that local communities are largely on their own if they want to increase the number of rail crossings, improve traffic signals or take other measures to alleviate the train traffic and reduce the risks of accidents and derailments. Funding is limited in state and local agencies, and private railroad companies aren’t required to pitch in....  read more here

Monday, September 29, 2014

​Stand Up for Your Health and Safety! Speak Out at Gov's Crude Safety Hearings

​Stand Up for Your Health and Safety!
Speak Out at Governor Inslee’s Train Safety Hearings
Northwest communities are facing an onslaught of coal export and oil-by-rail proposals.  If oil and coal companies are permitted to build their proposed facilities, they would turn our beloved region into a fossil fuel corridor.
With their hazardous coal dust and explosive fuel, these trains pose serious risks to our communities. These mile-long trains are an accident waiting to happen.  Derailments happen frequently and sometimes with disasters results of loss of life and property.

IT'S TIME TO SPEAK UP and demand protection for our families and our children’s future!

In October, we have a unique chance to engage state leaders about the impacts of oil (and coal) transport in our communities and waterways.

Save the date:

WHEN: October 28, 6:00-8:00 pm
WHERE: Spokane, Double Tree Hotel

WHEN: October 30, 6:00-8:00 pm
WHEREOlympia, venue location to be determined

Governor Inslee is doing a study to assess the risks of oil transportation in Washington, and is giving the public a chance to comment.  We know oil trains pose serious risks to our health and safety and that those risks are compounded by coal trains.  This is a critical opportunity to voice your concerns about the combined impact of oil and coal trains on our communities.

Help ensure that the study addresses the whole picture, such as risks and threats to rail communities, terminal communities, our economy, public safety, and our waterways like the Puget Sound, Grays Harbor, the Columbia River, and the Spokane River.

Your participation can inform how the state will respond to this very important issue. Don't miss this incredibly important opportunity to speak up. Join us!

NOTE: Bus transportation and car pools are being arranged for Whatcom/Skagit County, East King CountySeattleGrays Harbor, and Vancouver/Longview.  Car pools for all areas are also being organized.  Details are in the RSVP links above.

Thank you for all you do for the environment!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Important Events Coming! info and sign-up links

Upcoming Events: important that you attend!
click on links for more info and to sign up 

art by Robin Moore
US Development/GH Rail Terminal EIS Scoping Meeting
16 October at 6:00 pm
Grays Harbor County Fair in Elma, Washington

US Development/GH Rail Terminal EIS Scoping Meeting
16 October at 1:00 pm
The Aberdeen Rotary Club in Aberdeen, Washington  (Log Pavilion)

Shoreline Inventory, Analysis, and Characterization Report
14 October at 6:30 pm
North Beach Fire Station

Shoreline Inventory, Analysis, and Characterization Report
22 October at 6:30 pm
Montesano City Hall in Montesano, Washington

Governors Report on Crude Oil Transport
30 October at 6:00 pm
Olympia, location to be determined
Bus transportation and car pools are being arranged

2 Alberta Derailments; Oil Terminals Without Air Permits in Utah

CN Rail

Second Canadian National Railway Derailment in One Day in Alberta

Railroaded  09/26/14

It’s almost impossible to keep up with the number of reported Canadian National Railway derailments in Alberta. The latest occurred this afternoon near Wildwood west of Edmonton, when 15 cars loaded with coal derailed and spilled coal all over the tracks (Global Edmonton). The extent of environmental damage was not disclosed.

Railroaded reported earlier today about another CN derailment near Vermilion that occurred last night, less than 24 hours before the one near Wildwood. That derailment involved 17 to 20 CN cars loaded with peas.

These are the 20th and 21st reported CN derailments in Alberta in less than a year. It is well known that CN intentionally does not report many of its derailments, so there are undoubtedly many more that have occurred in Alberta during the past year. See CN Railway Derailments, Other Accidents and Incidents for details.

Note: the Railroaded Blog is a useful source for Canadian info

Does air quality suffer as Utah moves more oil by rail? 

Energy » Oil terminals are operating without air-quality permits as industry ramps up production of Utah crude. 
Built to move coal from trucks to trains, three Carbon County terminals instead began transferring crude oil this year — a switch yet to receive final approval from state environmental regulators.

At least 50 tanker trucks a day are rumbling over U.S. Highway 191 to the new rail connections, marking the rise of oil and the decline of coal in Utah’s energy picture.

Thanks to this new infrastructure, Utah crude is being shipped out of state in large quantities for the first time, opening new markets for the Uinta Basin’s distinctive waxy product. State officials are eager to see alternatives for transporting the basin’s surging production, and competing proposals for a pipeline and railway are in the works.

But the lack of current permits alarms environmentalists because transferring oil can release volatile organic compounds and other pollutants.

"We are allowing major operations like this to function without state approval. That tells us we have a serious black hole in terms of regulations for protecting public health," said Tim Wagner, executive director of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment..... read more here

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Evidence Mounts of Hidden Fracking Hazards; Kinder Morgan Loses- and other news

A web of roads, pipelines, and fracking wells. (Photo: Simon Fraser University/flickr/cc)

September 26, 2014   Common Dreams

 "We need strong state action to protect the public health from yet another troubling side effect of the unprecedented wave of shale gas development," environmentalist warns.

Frac sand mining uses significant volumes of groundwater, contributes to air pollution, and has negative socio-economic impacts, according to "Communities At Risk: Frac Sand Mining in the Upper Midwest" (pdf), produced by the the Civil Society Institute's Boston Action Research project in cooperation with Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Midwest Environmental Advocates (MEA)....

... Frac sand mining produces "very small and very dangerous dust particles," the report reads, which have been linked to respiratory infections, lung cancer, and cardiovascular disease....

...A separate peer-reviewed study, published earlier this week in the American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science and Technology, suggests fracking wastewater can endanger drinking water even after it has passed through treatment plants and been diluted....

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law new rules requiring oil shipments to be disclosed. This means that companies have to tell state and local agencies that potentially explosive crude oil is headed their way....

... Brown also signed into law a requirement for oil companies to reveal more details about the fracturing process....

City of Burnaby wins key ruling with National Energy Board against Kinder Morgan and its proposed $5.4 billion oil sands pipeline.

In what's considered a huge win for the City of Burnaby's legal battle to stop the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, the National Energy Board struck down the company's application to forbid Burnaby city staff from blocking the pipeline company's test drilling on Burnaby Mountain. ......

CALGARY — The Globe and Mail   Sep. 25 2014

Norway’s Statoil ASA has shelved a multibillion-dollar oil sands project, blaming rising construction costs and the repeated delays in new export pipelines that would boost the value of Canadian heavy crude oil.

Statoil said it halted plans for the steam-driven northern Alberta development, called Corner, for at least three years. About 70 jobs will be cut.....