consultants are sandburs

Friday, January 03, 2014

Oil from the Bakken on a track near you.

Strib reporting, with this leading screen capture:

click image to enlarge and read

Strib in a follow-up item, online here, states:

A safety alert issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation warns the public, emergency responders and shippers about the potential high volatility of crude from the Bakken oil patch. The sprawling oil shale reserve has made eastern Montana and western North Dakota the nation’s second-largest oil producer behind Texas.

Thursday’s announcement declares that the Bakken’s light crude oil — which is often transported through Minnesota — may be different from traditional heavy crudes because it is prone to ignite at a lower temperature. Experts say lighter crudes, which contain more natural gas, have a much lower “flash point,” the temperature at which vapors given off by the oil can ignite.

[...] The American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry trade group, pledged to review the findings and said it is working with regulators and the rail industry to ensure the safety of oil trains. “Any fuel or flammable product shipped in tank cars is held to the highest standard of safety, but it is still possible that rail accidents caused by human error, track defects, trains running into each other at very high speeds, or other rail issues could cause it to ignite,” the institute said.

Thursday’s safety alert resulted in part from results of preliminary tests on Bakken oil to determine just how dangerous it is, said Jeannie Shiffer with the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration.

Are we being proselytized/propagandized into, "Hey, a pipeline's a safer solution," by those wanting a pipeline? Is the better answer to demand the highest/safest maintenance of track mileage through Minnesota populated areas? In the short term even if yet another expensive pipeline is an ultimate reality. And in any event, track safety should never be short-changed. Especially so, in light of the large amounts of money BNSF extracted from tax coffers to allow Northstar traffic on the tracks it, not the government, owns. And especially so given BNSF's history, with the prom-night deaths of four young people at Anoka's Hwy 47 intersection with BNSF tracks. Their "track record" so to speak.

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