Tuesday, December 30, 2014

One year since fiery Casselton derailment - and other news

Charred remains from the December, 30, 2013, oil car derailment and explosion on the west side of Casselton.  David Samson / The Forum

It's been a year since fiery Casselton derailment brought focus on oil-by-rail safety

Each time a ruptured tanker exploded and shot flames hundreds of feet in the sky, the firefighters felt a pulse of heat on their faces. Hours later, the fire burned itself out.

A year later, reverberations from the derailment continue to spur changes. The mayor of Casselton, a farming community of almost 2,400, later would say the town had “dodged a bullet.”

The same could be said in Fargo, about 18 track miles to the east, and cities all around the nation along rail routes transformed into mobile pipelines carrying large shipments of volatile Bakken crude oil.....     more here

NPR: Casselton, one year later

audio at link[Editor: This NPR report mentions that recent new North Dakota regulations require “conditioning” the oil.  Note that the new rules fall short of calling for “stabilization” of the oil.  See Ron Schalow’s comment, including “This conditioning lowers the ignition temperature of crude oil—but not by much. It leaves in solution most of the culprit gases, including butane and propane….The only solution for safety is stabilization, which evaporates and re-liquefies nearly all of the petroleum gases for separate delivery to refiners. Stabilization is voluntarily and uniformly practiced in the Eagle Ford formation in Texas…” – RS]


Crews deal with a 15 car train derailment in Banff at the rail bridge over 40 Mile Creek.
Gavin Young / Calgary Herald

Crews try to contain ash spilled in Alberta train derailment

ctvnews.com   12/29/14

BANFF, Alta. -- Crews are trying prevent coal ash waste that was spilled by Canadian Pacific Railway cars from fouling the waters of a creek in Banff National Park.

The material known as fly ash was in some train cars that derailed Friday into 40 Mile Creek near the resort community.

Parks Canada spokesman Bill Hunt says CPR crews have hauled out all but one of the cars containing fly ash from the water....   more here


Ash spilled in train derailment could harm fish in Banff creek

Reid Southwick, Calgary Herald    12/30/14

Authorities are concerned about the long-term health of fish in a Banff creek after a freight train derailed last week, spilling several hundred tonnes of potentially toxic cargo into the water and surrounding area.

A Parks Canada official said Monday much of the spilled fly ash — a byproduct of coal production that can disrupt the local ecosystem — has settled to the bottom of 40 Mile Creek.....    more here

Delaware-size gas plume over West illustrates the cost of leaking methane

December 29, 2014 Washington Post     h/t Mike Dickerson
The methane that leaks from 40,000 gas wells near this desert trading post may be colorless and odorless, but it’s not invisible. It can be seen from space.

Satellites that sweep over energy-rich northern New Mexico can spot the gas as it escapes from drilling rigs, compressors and miles of pipeline snaking across the badlands. In the air it forms a giant plume: a permanent, Delaware-sized methane cloud, so vast that scientists questioned their own data when they first studied it three years ago. “We couldn’t be sure that the signal was real,” said NASA researcher Christian Frankenberg......  more here

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