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Response to cali (Original post)

Tue Jul 9, 2013, 08:02 AM

2. Quebec disaster highlights the danger in moving oil by rail



In the midst of a boom in North American oil production, the amount of crude shipped by rail has skyrocketed. In 2008 9,500 carloads were shipped by rail, the Wall Street Journal reported; by 2012, that had soared to 234,000 carloads. On balance, the exploitation of new oil fields, like the growth in natural-gas production, has been a boon to the U.S. economy and foreign policy. But infrastructure has not kept pace. Particularly as political opposition has slowed pipeline construction, oil transport has had to rely on a network of railways, some of which are outdated and in need of repair. Investigators from Greenpeace found that some oil tank cars used in Canada and the United States were unsafe even 20 years ago. Along the same lines, in a 2009 report, the National Transportation Safety Board, investigating a derailment in Illinois, concluded that the outdated design of the cars was essentially a fuse waiting to be lit. A full report has yet to be released on the Lac-Mégantic disaster, but, as the New York Times has pointed out, it looks as though the cars in question were of that same model.



Lac-Mégantic isn’t good for pipelines—it’s bad for oil, period

The scale and scope of the terrible tragedy in Lac-Mégantic, Que., is only beginning to sink in, and my thoughts are certainly with the victims and their families.

In the midst of shock and sadness, already there are those who have concluded this is an advantage for the pipeline industry in the oil debate. An op-ed by Diana Furchtgott-Roth in The Globe and Mail was quick to conclude that “after Saturday’s tragedy in Lac-Mégantic, Que., it is time to speed up the approval of new pipeline construction in North America…. If this oil shipment had been carried through pipelines, instead of rail, families in Lac-Mégantic would not be grieving for lost loved ones today, and oil would not be polluting Lac-Mégantic and the Chaudière River.” Queen’s Professor Warren Mabee was quoted in the Toronto Starsaying that “this could be a way for the pipeline lobby to emphasize a point that while they’ve had some problems, there’s not been this level of death and this level of impact.

I don’t agree. I think that this tragedy will have an industry-wide, negative impact. In reading these quotes and reactions, I see strong parallels to others in and around the oilsands industry after the BP spill. A couple of weeks after the Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank, then Environment Minister Jim Prentice stated that “the ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico shows that Canada’s oilsands are less risky than offshore drilling.” Dina Cover of TD Bank was sure we would see an economic boom from new oilsands investment given “the notion that oilsands are a safer method of oil production (than Gulf Coast offshore).” And Eric Lam at the Financial Post offered a similar thought: “on-shore operations such as Canada’s oilsands may ultimately come out as winners.”

In the wake of the BP disaster, Andy Revkin wrote that “the oil disaster doesn’t belong to BP, or to President Obama or his predecessor; we all own it.” In my view, that applies to Lac-Mégantic as well as to BP. We all own this disaster, but it will be owned in large share by all those who make their living producing and transporting oil.



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cali Jul 2013 OP
cali Jul 2013 #1
RobertEarl Jul 2013 #12
LineReply Quebec disaster highlights the danger in moving oil by rail
cali Jul 2013 #2
Art_from_Ark Jul 2013 #4
cali Jul 2013 #5
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suffragette Jul 2013 #9
Art_from_Ark Jul 2013 #28
Eddie Haskell Jul 2013 #3
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geek tragedy Jul 2013 #10
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cali Jul 2013 #14
suffragette Jul 2013 #13
malaise Jul 2013 #16
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KittyWampus Jul 2013 #15
cali Jul 2013 #18
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Motown_Johnny Jul 2013 #17
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FarCenter Jul 2013 #21
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