The oil industry’s public relations arm, the American Petroleum Institute (API), has reached new lows in its attempts to twist the on-going debate about the safety of crude-by-rail trains in the US.
Last Sunday was a grim and painful anniversary for the people of Lac-Mégantic in Quebec. It was a year ago that a crude by rail train, which was carrying highly volatile crude from America’s Bakken fracking fields, derailed and exploded, effectively incinerating 47 people.
For anyone concerned about the rising spate of crude by rail accidents across North America, the derailment and explosion last July of a crude by rail train in downtown Lac Megantic, Quebec, which killed 47 local residents, has become something of a cause célèbre.
An influential Senator yesterday accused oil companies of prevaricating over providing data to American regulators about the safety of crude by rail trains.
An analysis of oil spilled in the transportation process by Oil Change International using data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration Office reveals that the number of spills from crude by rail increased by almost 10 times from 2008-2013.
The mayor of Albany, the capital city of New York State, has become the latest elected official of a major American city to demand that the Federal government increase the regulatory oversight of crude by rail trains.
US regulators reacted to the string of recent crude by rail accidents yesterday by ordering that companies shipping crude out of North Dakota’s Bakken fracking fields must undertake extensive testing for signs of dangerous volatility.
And on it goes. One accident after another. But this time a major disaster was averted by a whisker. On Monday a freight train, which was carrying fracked and highly flammable shale oil from North Dakota, derailed on a bridge over the Schuylkill river in South Philadelphia.
The string of oil by rail accidents in recent weeks has forced regulators in both Canada and the US to re-appraise the safety of oil by rail.
Canada is looking to exploit a sludgy bitumen like substance, called Dolofudge, located near the tar sands. The Canadians are saying the region could contain some 500 billion barrels of Dolofudge– more than the combined recoverable reserves of Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.