1.5 million litres of crude oil spilled in Saskatchewan CP Rail train derailment

1.5 million litres of crude oil spilled in Saskatchewan CP Rail train derailment

SOURCE: Global News DATE: December 11, 2019 SNIP: The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) released new details regarding the Canadian Pacific Railway train derailment near Guernsey, Sask. The train originated in Rosyth, Alta., — right next to Hardisty, which is home to a large oil storage and terminal facility — and was destined for Oklahoma. It was heading east and travelling at about 70 kilometres per hour when it derailed just after midnight on Monday. TSB said Wednesday its preliminary examination suggests 19 of the 34 cars that derailed lost its entire load, releasing an estimated 1.5 million litres [400,000 gallons] of crude oil into the ground and atmosphere. The spill became engulfed in fire, which burned for approximately 24 hours. “A more precise determination of the tank car damage and the amount of product released will be made as product is recovered and the investigation progresses,” the TSB said in a statement. The TSB said the derailed cars included a mix of Class 117R and CPC-1232 Class 111 tank cars. Class 117R cars are an upgraded version considered to have improved safety features over the cars that were involved in the 2013 fatal explosion and fire in Lac Megantic,...
Tar Sands Crude Shipments Quietly Increased In Oregon, With Regulators In the Dark

Tar Sands Crude Shipments Quietly Increased In Oregon, With Regulators In the Dark

SOURCE: OPB DATE: April 4, 2019 SNIP: If oil is moving through Oregon, it’s Michael Zollitsch’s job to know about it. He oversees the state’s emergency responses to oil spills and other environmental disasters. But last March, when Bloomberg News reported oil from Canada’s tar sands was rolling through Zenith Energy’s storage facility in Northwest Portland on its way to Asia, it caught him by surprise. For six years oil trains have been rolling through Oregon — including one in 2016 that derailed and exploded in the Columbia River Gorge. And yet, the government workers charged with preventing and cleaning up oil spills in Oregon remain as in the dark as ever about many of these shipments. That’s largely because of successful industry lobbying efforts and the reluctance of Oregon’s legislature to pass rules already enacted in neighboring states. While lawmakers have passed bans on offshore oil drilling and fracking — both unlikely prospects in Oregon — they have done relatively little to regulate the real and present danger that oil could spill from trains rumbling through the state. For the fourth session in a row, the Oregon Legislature is now considering new rules for oil trains. House Bill 2209 would require DEQ oversight of railroad oil spill planning and assesses fees on railroads to help pay for the state’s work. Already this session, lawmakers have introduced two bills that would match the stronger requirements in Washington — and let them die without so much as a public hearing. This comes as oil-by-rail shipments out of Canada’s oil sands have been on the rise. Existing businesses in Oregon have...
Despite Risks, Canada’s Tar Sands Industry Is Betting Big on Oil Trains

Despite Risks, Canada’s Tar Sands Industry Is Betting Big on Oil Trains

SOURCE: DeSmog Blog DATE: March 14, 2019 SNIP: Last year, Canada exported a record amount of tar sands oil to the U.S., despite low oil prices leading to major losses once again for the struggling tar sands industry. That achievement required a big bump in hauling oil by rail, with those daily volumes in late 2018 more than double the previous record in 2014 during the first oil-by-rail boom. Canada’s oil industry essentially has reached its limit for exporting oil into the U.S. through pipelines. That’s why it’s turning to rail to export more and more oil, but as an ever-increasing number of oil trains hit the tracks of North America, expect more accidents and oil spills to follow. This could result in a near doubling of the current record volumes of Canadian crude moving by rail. Trains potentially could haul over 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the next two years, an outcome I predicted four years ago when the Canadian industry was moving only 150,000 bpd of oil by rail. To put these volumes in perspective, the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline will have a capacity of 760,000 bpd. Oil trains amount to a veritable pipeline on wheels. If the oil and rail industries do end up moving 600,000 bpd or more of oil by train, one thing is for certain: Accidents will increase. Existing regulations ignore many of the risks of moving oil by rail. That means as oil volumes increase, we should expect derailments to increase too. And while the rail industry likes to tout its safety record, 2018 was not a good year for the...