Friday, March 6, 2015

Train Carrying 3 Million Gallons of Oil Derails and Catches Fire

On March 5, 2015 another oil train derailed and caught fire. Firefighters were forced to flee the scene and they are allowing the fire to burn itself out. The BNSF train included more than 100 tanker cars carrying 3,242,600 gallons of crude oil. This incident occurred where the Galena River meets Mississippi. These tracks see as many as 50 oil laden trains each week, so it was only a matter of time before such a wreck occurred. This is but the latest oil train to go off the rails. There have been 3 such fuel train wrecks in North America the last three weeks.

On February 16 a train carrying more than 3 million gallons of Bakken crude oil derailed near Mount Carbon, West Virginia resulting in a massive explosion and fire.

In February a Canadian Pacific Railway freight train derailed and caught fire in Dubuque, Iowa spilling ethanol into the water.

All of these incidents take place in the shadow of the 2013 oil train disaster in Lac-M├ęgantic Quebec that killed 47 people..

These are but a few of a large and growing number of oil train derailments which show that transporting oil by rail is not safe. The problem is getting worse because of increases in oil train traffic. The Association of American Railroads said that oil shipments by rail have increased from 9,500 carloads in 2008 to 500,000 in 2014.

While the federal government has proposed new guidelines, such actions are disingenuous as there is no safe way to transport oil.

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