America’s expanding oil production threatens the pristine region of the country with a rash of new oil terminals along coast
rtcc.org 29 October 2014 By Valerie Brown
Oil and coal producers in the US are planning to use mile-long tanker trains to transport vast quantities of fossil fuels to the coast through areas that environmental groups believe should be protected.
The change in world fossil fuel production, consumption and costs caused by tar sands exploitation in Canada and the fracking boom in the US is causing what Bill McKibben − author, environmental activist and co-founder of the international climate campaign group 350.org − calls a “chokepoint” in the unspoiled Northwest of the country..... read more here
By Richard Valdmanis Oct 29, 2014 (Reuters)
- Canada has issued an emergency order to railways detailing how many handbrakes they must set on unattended trains to prevent deadly runaways, and will hire new staff to conduct an "audit blitz" of rail companies' safety systems.
The changes are the latest in a slew of regulatory moves in North America since a train carrying crude oil crashed in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, last year, killing 47 people and highlighting the dangers from a surge in oil transport by rail.
The announcement on Wednesday came in response to the Canadian Transportation Safety Board's final report in August on the Lac-Megantic crash that found shortfalls in railway safety culture and federal oversight of the industry....
Railway Age by Frank N. Wilner 10/28/14
Unraveling the knot restricting rail network fluidity cannot be achieved through Surface Transportation Board (STB) intimidation of rail CEOs, or by the agency's issuance of an emergency service order instructing one railroad to operate over the tracks of another, or by merging the nation's seven major rail systems into a North American duopoly.None would cause to appear, in sufficiently short order, the required additional locomotives and track capacity essential to curing the problem.....
.... The knot of railroad congestion is one of capacity constraint. It imposes costs on freight shippers, Amtrak, and the economy as a whole, plus menaces homeland security. Unraveling the knot entails added capital investment — and time.....
.....public spending on infrastructure improvements generates impressive economic returns to society, according to academic studies such as Canada 2020 Think Tank. It found that $1 billion in infrastructure spending creates almost 17,000 jobs, including manufacturing, business services and transportation; increases gross domestic product by as much as $1.8 billion; boosts tax revenue by at least 30% without increasing taxes; and, longer-term, lowers production costs for business..... read more here