....Local officials and the general public are largely in the
dark about the nation’s freight railroads, which carry growing volumes
of flammable crude oil, while state and federal governments have limited
authority and oversight.
And when it comes to rail bridge safety, the industry is generally left to police itself.
citizens have documented cracked and crumbling rail bridges along the
Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River that engineers say are troubling
and that prompted federal authorities to take a closer look. BNSF
assures the public the bridges are safe, but the government does not
have structural engineers to independently verify their claims. And
unlike highway bridges, inspection reports are secret, unavailable to
the public and local officials.
There isn’t even an inventory of bridges.
makes me nervous is the responsibility of safety for railroad bridges
rests with the owner of the track. You’d like to think they use good
faith and safety and upkeep of the bridges … but it only takes some poor
owners that don’t take it as seriously,” said Pat Salvi, a Chicago
attorney who handles rail accidents. “The consequences are so
potentially dramatic.”... read more here
Even to the most reasonable among us here in the Northwest, the
lonely cry of the train whistle in the night is no longer a very
comforting sound. You can't help but wonder if it's announcing the
arrival of one of the 20 or so trains of up to 100 tanker cars that pass
through the region in an average week, each one carrying up to 3
million gallons of explosive crude oil.....
PHMSA's own analysis has determined oil trains "are longer, heavier in
total, more challenging to control ... [and] can be more prone to
derailments when put in emergency braking." That's why I co-authored a
legal petition, filed with PHMSA last month, asking the agency to
establish rules limiting trains carrying crude oil and other hazardous
liquids to 4,000 tons — the weight that the American Association of
Railroads has determined to be a "no problem" train, considered much
less likely to derail. This safety guideline is currently exceeded
threefold by the 100-car crude oil trains rumbling through Oregon..... read more here
FRANCISCO -- Regional air pollution regulators on Wednesday approved a
far-reaching blueprint to cut Bay Area oil refinery emissions by 20
Under the plan, the Bay Area Air Quality Management
District board will consider a package of air pollution rules in 2015 to
reduce emissions from five refineries.
More rigorous monitoring
of refinery emissions will be required. To assure continued clean air
improvements, refiners will be required periodically to assess their
pollution and ways to reduce it....... read more here