Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Rail cars used to ship oil called 'unacceptable'

Rail cars used to ship oil called 'unacceptable'

DOT-111 cars on bridge over Black Warrior River (photo by JLW)
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal safety official says the rail tank cars being used to ship crude oil from North Dakota's Bakken region are an "unacceptable public risk," and even cars voluntarily upgraded by the industry "may not be sufficient."

National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt told a House subcommittee Wednesday that the cars, known as DOT-111s, were involved in derailments of oil trains in Casselton, N.D., and Lac-Megantic, Quebec, just across the U.S. border.
The NTSB has long urged replacement of the tank cars, but federal efforts to write tougher regulations for new tank cars have dragged on for two years.
Cynthia Quarterman, head of the federal hazards materials safety administration, said she expects to propose new rules this year. She had no estimate for when the rule would be final.


Monday, February 3, 2014

New Augusta Mississippi, crude train wreck

 Train Wreck... No Explosion! 

I want to use the recent train derailment in New Augusta Mississippi on Jan. 31, 2014 to make a comparison between tar sands oil and Bakken Crude oil. In no way am I supporting the use of tar sands over Bakken. Please take this for it's intended purpose which is to highlight the extreme dangers of Bakken crude on the rials outside America's bedrooms.
Photo by
Aliceville Alabama 11/14/13
 In Miss. 18 cars left the track carrying Canadian tar sand oil. 
Some were punctured and others were ripped, but none exploded.

 Oil was lost into the drainage ditch leading to the Leaf River but was fairly well contained.

 There was no fire, or explosion.

In the last 4 derailments of Bakken crude there were horendeous explosions and fires that have killed 47 in Canada while dumping thousands of gallons of toxic Bakken crude oil into surrounding streams and wetlands, such as Aliceville Alabama.  Then there was Caselton Nd. where two trains collided and went up in mushroom cloud explosions. Derailments or collisions, Bakken crude react differently from any known hazardous crude oils.

This one was carrying Canadian tar sands oil and Methanol. The Methanol being the fire danger. Tar sands for the most part are very thick and must be shipped in insulated and sometimes heated cars.
Most of the oil from this wreck hit the cold ground and turned to a heavy syrup like consistency without spreading too far away from the site.

 Some did reach the median of Hwy 98 but it too looked to be contained for the most part.
Oil sheen on water was contained. Needed Opflex deployed.

Side drains along the Hwy were stopped up using tarps and truck loads of sand. not much chance of it leaving the area without an extreme rainfall event.

 The main drainage along the tracks was filled wit "crusher run", a finely ground gravel that packs tightly and serves as a temporary dam. This held the oil in the immediate area where it could be dealt with.

 There was a pumping operation next to the road where I saw several trucks coming and going.  
Some were pumping what looked to be crude oil from right along side the road.
Others were cleaning out tank cars of Methanol. 

D.O.T. Placard 1230 Methanol, Flammable Liquid, Class 3.DOT PLACARD 1230 METHANOL, Flammable Liquid, Class 3 - Choose from 4 Materials: Pressure Sensitive Vinyl, Rigid Plastic, Aluminum or Magnetic 
I saw pump trucks coming and going from the tank cars that didn't show placards at all. I know it was crude oil but no why placards on the highway?
I don't know ht made me take the turn in Meridian down a back street after getting gas but I found it kind of ironic that trains were sidelined due to the wreck I was going to report and I was driving by the potentially the next one.
Meridian Mississippi 02/01/14

DOT PLACARD 1987 ALCOHOLS, DENATURED ALCOHOL, Flammable Liquid, Class 3 - Choose from 4 Materials: Press On Vinyl, Rigid Plastic, Aluminum or Magnetic

D.O.T. Placard 1987 Alcohols, Denatured Alcohol, Flammable Liquid, Class 3. 

Will we ever learn? 
While the NTSB studies the Bakken debate, we, the people need to be sounding off. We should be demanding new and tougher restrictions on train cars and all methods of transferring this extremely unstable product.
LAC-MÉGANTIC, Que., Canada