Willamette River as part of an oil-spill training exercise in Portland
By Samantha Wohlfeil The Bellingham Herald May 17, 2015
The law requires railroads to plan for the “largest foreseeable spill in adverse weather conditions,” but doesn’t define “largest foreseeable spill.”
In April, BNSF railway employees told Washington emergency responders that the company currently considers 150,000 gallons of crude oil – enough to fill five rail tank cars – its worst-case scenario when planning for spills into waterways. Crude oil trains usually carry about 100 rail tank cars.
“We’ve already seen worse than that though, haven’t we?” asked Roger Christensen, Bellingham’s interim emergency manager,....
...The amount is lower than what has been spilled and partially burned off in several high-profile crude oil train derailments in the last three years: ....
...“Until we have further regulatory clarity from the U.S. Department of Transportation on how the agency will require railroads to calculate ‘worst-case discharges’ to waterways, BNSF is considering using 150,000 gallons,” Melonas wrote. “BNSF is open to discussing the justification of this quantity with Federal or State environmental agencies.”....
... The new law tasks the state Department of Ecology with crafting the worst-case scenario for railroad contingency plans in a process that could take a year or longer, and will include input from the railroads and the public, said Linda Pilkey-Jarvis, preparedness section manager for Ecology.... more here
RawStory Tom Boggioni May 16, 2015
A billionaire oil tycoon, who is a major donor to the University of Oklahoma, approached a dean at the school demanding that the university fire scientists who were studying the link between fracking and the increase of earthquakes in the oil-rich state.
“Mr. Hamm is very upset at some of the earthquake reporting to the point that he would like to see select OGS staff dismissed,” Grillot wrote to Dammy Hilliard, University Vice President for External Relations and Planning.
In the email, Grillot noted that Hamm had made a veiled threat to the university, telling the dean, “he would be visiting with Governor [Mary] Fallin on the topic of moving the OGS out of the University of Oklahoma.”.... more here