While a second oil-by-rail boom is well underway in North America, both the U.S. and Canada are taking steps that ignore or undermine the lessons and regulatory measures to improve safety since the oil train explosions and spills of years past.
Canadian oil-by-rail now is operating at record levels, which are predicted to double by 2019. Favorable economics have led to a recent rise in oil-by-rail movements in the U.S. as well, with more Bakken oil moving by train to East Coast refineries.
Meanwhile, in September the Trump administration finalized its rollback of a regulation requiring an updated braking system for oil trains, known as modern electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brakes, in a highly questionable regulatory process detailed on DeSmog last year.
In North Dakota, the Department of Mineral Resources now plans to reverse a regulation which required even the minimal stabilization of oil transported by train, with “stabilization” referring to a process that removes some of the natural gas liquids that make Bakken oil so explosive. That move doesn't bode well for avoiding earlier scenarios in which rail operators dubbed oil trains as “bomb trains.”
In September Canada committed to phasing out some of the unsafe older rail tank cars ahead of schedule, but a derailment earlier this year shows that this step is far from foolproof. On June 22, a train carrying Canadian oil that derailed in northwestern Iowa was using the newer DOT-117R tank cars, the same ones being phased in as the new standard. The derailment still resulted in the release of an estimated 230,000 gallons of tar sands oil into local floodwaters.
And while track defects are the leading cause of train derailments (which, of course, lead to fires, explosions, and spills), the Trump administration has hit pause on efforts to regulate rail wear, which makes unlikely the possibility of new rules on this issue while Trump is in office.I wonder if De-Smog prefers pipeline to CBR.
Did I forget to post the August, 2018, data? Can't remember.
It's a losing battle. FWIW, one year ago, September, 2017, atmospheric CO2 was reported to be 403.38 parts per million). That represents a 0.5% increase year-over-year. In parts per million, it was an increase of 2.13 parts per million, or 2.13 / 1,000,000 = 0.000213 percent, or slightly more than the amount of Mexican/South American DNA Pocahontas has in her genetic genome.