Saturday, January 31, 2015

Heron's Warning video/ Train Carrying Crude Oil Derails In South Philadelphia- and other news

Heron's Warning at the Shell hearing in Mt Vernon and there were some great public testimonies given by lots of folks from Skagit, Whatcom, and Seattle.  Check out this beautifully edited 2 minute video of the testimony by Annie and Marianna with the beautiful large heron puppet and speaking on their behalf.

see also:   Shell’s Anacortes Refinery: Don’t worry, be happy … Crowds: no way!


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) 01/31/15 — Hazmat crews were called to the scene of a partial train derailment overnight in South Philadelphia.  Police say a CSX train jumped the tracks around 3 a.m. Saturday in the company’s train yard near 11th Street and Pattison Avenue.  Officials say eleven cars carrying crude oil were leaning off the rails.....

[ How many close calls will Philly get?  almost exactly a year ago....see next item]

A Near Miss from Disaster: Oil Train Derails in Philadelphia - January 20, 2014

Bakken Shale oil train derailed over the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia on January 20th, 2014.
Photo: NBC Chicago/SkyForce
Philadelphia’s wake-up call is here. A few months ago, Protecting Our Waters started warning people about the dangers of the fracked oil trains coming to Philadelphia from the Bakken Shale formation out west.

Eastern refineries processing more foreign oil as crude price gap narrows- Canadian refineries are taking in a surge of foreign oil supplies as the price difference between U.S. and international crude narrows

Friday, January 30, 2015

Building a Labor – Community Alliance Around Rail Safety!

The Future of Railroads: Safety, Workers, Community & the Environment

Conferences: Richmond, CA (March 14) & Olympia, WA (March 21)

Building a Labor – Community Alliance Around Rail Safety
RWU Backbone logo

In recent months, public attention has focused on the railroad. In the wake of Lac-M├ęgantic and other derailments, the public is alarmed about oil trains and the movement of trains in general through their communities. Environmental activists are up-in-arms about the amounts of fossil fuels moving by rail. Farmers and other shippers are concerned about the congestion that has occurred in recent months, but in part to the oil boom.

The public generally has no idea what goes on daily on America’s railroads. Chronic crew fatigue, single employee train crews, excessively long and heavy trains, draconian availability policies, short staffing, limited time off work create challenging safety issues of concern not just to railroaders, but to the entire populations.

Please join us at this cutting edge conference that brings railroad workers, environmentalists, community activists and concerned citizens together in order to build the movement for a safer and greener railroad, on that is more responsive to the needs of workers, trackside communities, citizens in general, and society as a whole.

Conference dates contacts
trainman at switch
Register for the Richmond, CA Conference:
Register for the Olympia, WA Conference:
Donate to Support the Richmond, CA Conference: click here
Donate to Support the Olympia, WA Conference: click here

See site for list of tentative workshops, the list of endorsing organizations, the resolution underlying the conference, and other information.


Communities fight crude regulators and industry collusion- and other news

Environmental groups sue California air district over crude by rail permit

By Rory Carroll    Reuters 01/29/15

Environmental groups on Thursday sued the San Joaquin Air Pollution Control District over a permit it issued last year that allowed crude-carrying trains to begin making deliveries at a terminal in Bakersfield, arguing the regulator failed to adequately vet the proposal.

The plaintiffs asked the California Superior Court to declare the permit invalid and stop further operations at the newly opened Bakersfield Crude Terminal in Taft until a full environmental review is conducted. The terminal, which began receiving crude in November, is owned by Plains All American .
In their complaint, the groups point to emails obtained through a public records request that they say show regulators helping the company avoid environmental and public reviews of the project.....    more here

‘Bomb Train’ Suits Seen Slowing U.S. Oil Independence


Climate warriors fight fossil fuels  

01/29/15     MSNBC video    
With the Paris climate talks less than a year away, activists like Rising Tide’s Ahmed Gaya are preparing for a year of escalating action, including more blocked oil trains.

Several dozen workers staged a demonstration outside of the meeting before it began and said they didn’t always feel empowered to stop work if they felt the conditions were unsafe. Jim Payne, a representative of Local 5, said the issue is so important to workers that they’ve proposed absolute stop work authority as part of collective bargaining negotiations.

The Dalles joins oil train debate  -  The Dalles City Council has joined Hood River, Mosier and other Oregon towns in urging state officials to pursue greater federal regulation of crude oil transports.  The resolution approved by a unanimous vote Monday, Jan. 26, also recommends that rules be put in place to require that rail companies pay for damages caused by catastrophic fire and explosions following a derailment or accident.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

CA Supreme Court to Resolve Split on Railroad Regulation- and other news

California Supreme Court To Resolve Appellate Court Split on Federal Preemption in Railroad Regulation

by Thomas Henry   [co-author: Shannon Morrissey - Law Clerk]

On December 10, 2014, the California Supreme Court granted petition for review in Friends of the Eel River v. North Coast Railroad Authority to resolve a split between the First and Third District Courts of Appeal.  (230 Cal.App.4th 85 (2014), cert. granted, 339 P.3d 329, Cal. S.C. Case No. S222472 (2014).)  The Court will consider two questions:
(1) Does the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act (“ICCTA”) (49 U.S.C. § 10101 et seq.) preempt the application of the California Environmental Quality Act [CEQA] (Pub. Res. Code, § 21050 et seq.) to a state agency’s proprietary acts with respect to a state-owned and funded rail line or is CEQA not preempted in such circumstances under the market participant doctrine (see Town of Atherton v. California High Speed Rail Authority (2014) 228 Cal.App.4th 314)?
(2) Does the ICCTA preempt a state agency’s voluntary commitments to comply with CEQA as a condition of receiving state funds for a state-owned rail line and/or leasing state-owned property?
The Supreme Court’s decision on this issue has the potential to affect crude by rail shipments in California, which has increased dramatically within California and nationwide in the past several years.  In 2013, railroads transported almost 40 million tons of crude oil across the U.S., as compared to approximately 20 million tons in 2012 and 7 million tons in 2011, according to data from the Association of American Railroads..... .....   more here

Obama opens Atlantic to new drilling The Hill    President Obama unveiled plans Tuesday to open swaths of the Atlantic and Arctic oceans to new oil and gas exploration, enraging Democrats......

Oil Well Fire Continues to Burn - Smith County, Miss.  A fire at a Smith County oil well continued to burn Wednesday. It could be several days before it's finally extinguished.

Water Concerns After Train Derailment -  Allendale County, SC -Crews are working to get a CSX train back on the tracks after a derailment. One of the rail cars the train hit had hydrochloric acid that spilled after the crash.

Canada’s TSB Concerned Railway Safety ‘Remains Inadequate’ --Transportation Safety Agency Concerned Over Ottawa’s Oversight of Railway Companies