Thursday, November 20, 2014

Unacceptable Risks/ Shippers Vent at Annual Meet/ Benicia Mayor Stands her Ground

A fire from a train derailment burns uncontrollably in ND

Addressing the unacceptable risks from Bakken crude-oil trains

The Seattle Times  11/19/14

Contributing to this column are State Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark and tribal leaders Tim Ballew II, Lummi Nation; Jim Boyd, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation; Brian “Spee~Pots” Cladoosby, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community; William B. Iyall, Cowlitz Indian Tribe; Maria Lopez, Hoh Indian Tribe; David Lopeman, Squaxin Island Tribe; Fawn Sharp, Quinault Indian Nation; Charles Woodruff, Quileute Tribe; Herman Williams Sr., Tulalip Tribes; and Gary Burke, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

CHANGES in the global energy market are threatening to turn Washington into a classic oil-boom state, focused more on short-term profits than the safety of its citizens, the health of its irreplaceable ecosystems and the treaty rights of sovereign tribal nations....

...In Washington, crude-oil transportation routes border hundreds of miles of vulnerable aquatic ecosystems, from the Columbia River to Puget Sound, that our people cherish and the state has a responsibility to protect. The environmental destruction that would result from a similar disaster in Washington could take decades and billions of taxpayer dollars to repair..... read more here

Shippers vent collective spleens at NITL session

Carriers burned in effigy at shipper panel session at the National Industrial Transportation League's annual meeting.

DC Velocity       By Staff    11/19/14

The carrier bashing reverberated throughout the Broward County, Fla., convention center. A panel of air, rail, ocean, and truck shippers, surrounded by a group of 60 or so highly sympathetic and frustrated shipper brethren, yesterday took the collective carrier universe to the woodshed for any number of infractions, legitimate or otherwise.

The panel, presenting at the National Industrial Transportation League's annual meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., bemoaned the capacity shortages that have struck every mode. It also sharply criticized carriers for inefficient, unreliable, and inconsistent service that they said only continues to worsen.....

....On the rail side, Randy Brown, vice president for transportation logistics, North America, for agricultural and food service giant Cargill, said rail carriers are giving the red-hot crude-by-rail higher priority than intermodal and carload traffic, a decision that has been a source of chagrin for all nonenergy shippers. He said major railroads have been slow to hire and train crews, even thought the process takes about a year before crews are sufficiently qualified to be productive. Brown singled out eastern rail company Norfolk Southern Corp. as the chief offender in this area. He also said the congestion problems in Chicago, the nation's main rail hub which serves six North American Class I carriers, is a "25- to 50-year problem that will never get fixed.".

Brown said carload traffic is currently approaching 2006-07 levels, the last period of very strong demand. Unfortunately, today's rail network, beset all year by congestion problems that began before the terrible winter weather that paralyzed large chunks of the network, is at the "breaking point," he said. Brown said anywhere near a repeat of last winter's conditions would be close to apocalyptic for the rail system.....  read more here

Benicia releases opinion on mayor's alleged 'bias' related to Valero project

City fears legal risks to pending Valero refinery crude rail decision

By Tony Burchyns   11/19/14

BENICIA    The city has released its legal opinion on Mayor Elizabeth Patterson's alleged "bias" related to the Valero refinery's pending oil train project....

.... The City Council voted 5-0 on Tuesday night to release the opinion to the public. The decision followed Patterson's announcement last month that the city had advised her not to participate in any upcoming decisions related to Valero's controversial project.

"The city attorney asserts I have a conflict of interest that should prevent my involvement in the proceedings," Patterson said Tuesday. "While conflicts of interest are serious matters, in this instance it seems my conflict of interest is the health, welfare and safety of the people of Benicia, and on that I will not yield."....  read more here

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