Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Heavy oil trains, defective tracks cause derailments - plus links

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) has suggested that heavy oil tanker cars may have contributed to the Gogama area derailments in the past month. TSB photo shows the twisted wreckage of the Makami River bridge that was destroyed in the March 7th derailment.   

March 17, 2015     by Jennifer A. Dlouhy 

WASHINGTON — Federal regulators seeking to boost the safety of moving oil by rail should focus on improving the integrity of the nation’s train tracks, not just the tank cars that carry crude, a top refining industry representative says.

Charles Drevna, head of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, questioned “how strong a role prevention is playing in the Department of Transportation’s comprehensive strategy” for combating crude-by-rail derailments, in a letter to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

“Any effort to enhance rail safety must begin with addressing track integrity and human factors, which account for 60 percent of derailments,” Drevna said in his letter, sent Monday and released Tuesday. “Investments in accident prevention would result in the greatest reduction in the risk of rail incidents.”…     more here

NY State rail inspectors find more defects in oil cars, tracks

State and federal safety inspectors uncovered a total of 93 defects statewide over a two-day period last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday. Seven were deemed “critical defects” requiring immediate action, according to the state Department of Transportation. Three of them were along Canadian Pacific’s mainline between Fort Edward and Burnt Hills, where inspectors also found 11 non-critical defects.....   more here

Rotting ties, loose bolts found on CSX track near Rockland

 Khurram Saeed,      The Journal News     3/17/15

......Rockland County Executive Ed Day said CSX should be making these fixes "without being prompted" by the state.

"They're breaking a trust with the public at this point and they really need to step up their game," Day told The Journal News.....    more here

Bay Area residents hold Air District accountable for protecting health and climate from refinery pollution

Bay View  3/17/15

Richmond, Calif.Communities across the region’s oil belt stood up to industry pressure to demand that air officials clean up refinery pollution instead of letting it worsen at a news event and air policy workshop today.

Communities and workers are fighting to protect our health, safety and climate from dirtier oil projects that our Air District should be stopping instead of proposing to allow,” said AndrĂ©s Soto, Communities for a Better Environment (CBE).

At issue are new regional rules on refinery emissions monitoring and control that are being developed by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Despite an Oct. 15, 2014, vote by the District’s board to develop rules that would reduce refinery emissions of toxic, smog-forming and climate-disrupting air pollution, the rules it proposes now include loopholes that allow increased emissions from new oil projects..... more here

By LEN GILLIS    The Timmins Times

An interim report on the second Gogama-area train derailment, the one that occurred on Saturday Mar. 7, suggests it might have been partially the result of the heavy oil tank trains having a higher-than-normal impact on the tracks.....    more here

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