Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Vancouver extends moratorium, Rail CEO fears terrorism, Sen. Cantwell plans CBR safety bill

Vancouver extends moratorium on crude oil facilities

By Amy M.E. Fischer, Columbian City government reporter    The Columbian      03/02/15

The Vancouver City Council on Monday unanimously voted to extend a moratorium on expanding or establishing crude oil-handling facilities, prompting the audience to break into applause.

Moments earlier, roughly a dozen people took the microphone to praise the council's stance against oil terminals in Vancouver and voice support for continuation of the six-month moratorium adopted Sept. 11. No one spoke against the extension.

"Corporations do not care about you or me or our families or communities. But you do care. I trust YOU," Den Mark Wichar, a Hough neighborhood resident, told the council, referring to the companies interested in establishing crude oil facilities locally.

"Thanks for having our backs," said Cathryn Chudy of Vancouver.

The original moratorium was due to expire March 10. By continuing the moratorium for six months, city staff will have time to prepare a comprehensive review of current and potential new regulations to city code. Among other things, the staff's work will involve determining which agencies have authority over crude oil, identifying interested parties and their issues, and researching actions other municipalities have taken, according to city documents.

The moratorium doesn't affect the massive oil transfer terminal proposed by Tesoro Corp. and Savage Companies that's currently under review by the state. It would be the largest such terminal in the United States when operational, receiving an average of 360,000 barrels of crude oil per day by rail at the Port of Vancouver. The state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council will make a recommendation to Gov. Jay Inslee regarding the Tesoro project, which the Vancouver City Council formally opposes.....    more here

CP CEO fears terrorism more than derailments

Hunter Harrison says attack ‘can be planned to do the worst possible damage.’

When it comes to shipping crude oil by rail, CP Rail CEO Hunter Harrison says he worries more about a possible terrorist attack than derailments.

“That’s what concerns me more,” he told reporters after a speech at the Canadian Club on Monday. “It can be planned to do the worst possible damage.”

Harrison, who took over CP in June 2012 after a bitter proxy fight, boasted that the company has made “quantum leaps” to reduce accidents based on severity and frequency.

However, he said he cannot promise there won’t be more accidents. 

But he says he actually worries more about third parties doing damage to a hazardous goods tank, or tampering with the railroads or rights of way.

“Everybody wants the products, but nobody wants the railroad by them or their backyard,” he said during his speech, citing logjams around Chicago, where railways pass busy areas such as the McCormick Place convention centre and Soldier Field, home of the National Football League’s Chicago Bears.

There’s huge exposure to potential accidents and we’re not addressing it like we should,” Harrison said, adding that routing protocols should be introduced to ensure the least exposure.....    more here

Cantwell to Introduce Bill on Safety Standards for Crude-by-Rail

Senator: USDOT rules don’t go far enough to protect cities and towns

kirotv.com   03/03/15
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a Senate Commerce Committee hearing today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) announced plans to introduce legislation that would establish new, stronger safety standards for trains hauling flammable crude oil.

Cantwell told U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx that she didn’t think the Administration’s proposed rule under consideration would be strong enough and that legislation would be necessary to protect communities.....  more here 

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