Thursday, January 15, 2015

Little Improvement Expected in Bakken Death Count Projections

New Death Count Projections for Bakken Oil Train Disasters?

By Ron Schalow, January 13, 2015    Benicia Independent

[Ed Note: see another Schalow article here about the difference between oil conditioning- which ND now requires- and oil stabilization, which could make real safety differences.]

Firefighters, Emergency Personnel, Lawmakers, and Media:

Last June (2014), North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple called disaster agencies and emergency personnel together for a “tabletop exercise” to practice a response to a possible Bakken oil train derailment, and the subsequent explosions. They estimated there would be more than 60 deaths if such an incident occurred in Bismarck, ND (65,000 pop.) or Fargo, ND (110,000 pop.).…/inside-energy-making-bakken…

I don’t know the times, locations, or other variables, in the exercise calculations, but I can envision places in Bismarck and Fargo where the death count might be zero at certain times of the day. I could also think of cases, especially in downtown Fargo, when thousands would be in the blast zone.

There were 47 deaths in Lac-Megantic (6,000 pop.) after a Bakken oil train derailed on July 6, 2013. Dozens of downtown buildings were incinerated, but due to the late hour, most of the people who died were assembled at one place of business.…

Then, on December 9th, 2014, all three North Dakota Industrial Commission members signed Order No. 25417.

“This order will bring every barrel of Bakken crude within standards to improve the safety of oil for transport,” said Governor Jack Dalrymple, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, in a joint statement.

Considering the improved safety, North Dakota officials should have updated projections of fatalities for Fargo and Bismarck. They would know the June variables and the change in composition of the contents of the tanker cars, due to the new Order. You could extrapolate the information to predict the deaths and damage for your community.

What’s the new number for casualties? These people should know…

North Dakota Industrial Commission

Governor Dalrymple’s Chief of Staff
Ron Rauschenberger
701-328-2222               additional contacts at site  

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