Saturday, March 28, 2015

Rail wants only private talks with WA fire chiefs; API in full spin mode

In this image made available by the City of Lynchburg, several CSX tanker cars carrying crude oil in flames after derailing in downtown Lynchburg, Va., Wednesday, April 30, 2014. (AP Photo/City of Lynchburg, LuAnn Hunt)

Several CSX tanker cars carrying crude oil in flames after derailing in downtown Lynchburg, Va.

Railroad wants to talk in private to fire chiefs about oil cars

The BNSF Railroad has pumped cold water on Washington Fire Chiefs request that it hand over worst-case scenarios and comprehensive emergency response plans for dealing with an oil train accident.

The railroad has offered a private talk and an “overview” of its plans.

The Washington Fire Chiefs have sent similar letters to the Union Pacific Railroad and to Canadian National and Canadian Pacific.

An average of three long oil trains pass each day through Seattle and waterfronts of other Puget Sound population centers, en route to northern Puget Sound refineries.

Taking note of the lethal 2013 disaster in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, an accident and fire in Lynchburg, Va., and the recent fiery derailment of an oil train near the Kanawaha River in West Virginia, the Washington Fire Chiefs voiced concern about response.

“All of these incidents could have been even more catastrophic should they have occurred in major population centers,” they wrote BNSF......

But the railroad is not forking over any documents.

“We would like to meet with you to discuss the items requested in your letter.  We will also provide an overview of BNSF’s emergency response plans and capabilities, and initiatives underway for derailment prevention,” wrote John Lovenburg, BNSF’s environmental vice president.....

....Emergency responders have done a slow burn over railroads’ reluctance to disclose basic information about cargoes and schedules.

In its letters to BNSF, and other railroads, Washington Fire Chiefs put the matter bluntly:
“Normally, we would be able to assess the hazard through right-to-know and other public documents; however, your industry has sought and gained exemptions to these sunshine laws.

“This exemption does not mean your industry is exempt from taking reasonable steps to ensure catastrophic accidents do not occur.”.....      more here
Meanwhile, Big Oil/Rail spin-masters are hard at work minimizing our risk and their liability:

Facts, Science Must Guide Rail Safety Improvements

March 27, 2015 
Energy Tomorrow is brought to you by the American Petroleum Institute (API),  the national trade association [ LOBBYING GROUP] that represents  America’s oil and natural gas industry.

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