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Trains, pipes and oil spills - Apr 2

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Everything You Need to Know About the Exxon Pegasus Tar Sands Spill

Ben Jervey, DeSmogBlog

Everything You Need to Know About the Exxon Pegasus Tar Sands Spill (via Desmogblog)

In Greek legend, everytime the winged horse Pegasus struck his hoof to the Earth, an "inspiring spring burst forth." Unfortunately for residents in Mayflower, Arkansas, when the Pegasus pipeline ruptured, the only thing bursting forth was a nasty tar sands oil spill. On Friday afternoon, the Pegasus…

(1 April 2013)

Tar-sands oil spills in Arkansas and Minnesota

John Upton, Grist
As the Obama administration mulls approval of the Keystone XL pipeline that would carry tar-sands oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries, the heavy toxic gunk is already spilling out over America. Last Wednesday, a southbound train carrying Canadian oil derailed in Minnesota, spilling about 15,000 gallons of tar-sands crude – described by The Washington Post as “a mixture of heavy bitumen and lighter dilutents.” Two days later, an ExxonMobil pipeline carrying tar-sands oil burst beneath a suburban neighborhood in Arkansas. The exact size of the spill hasn’t yet been determined, but ExxonMobil says it’s preparing to be able to clean up 420,000 gallons, though it doesn’t believe the spill is that large.

(1 April 2013)

Oil spills disastrous for public relations

Stephen Ewart, Calgary Herald
An accident at Suncor Energy last week that spewed industrial wastewater into the Athabasca River for hours was a lot of things - and none of them good - but describing it as a "disaster" is something of an overstatement.

However, the characterization of the discharge as "a 10-hour disaster" by Greenpeace Canada speaks to the heightened stakes, the loaded language and the emotional angst around anything connected to the oilsands these days.

From ExxonMobil's oil pipeline rupture in Arkansas on Friday to a train derailment and oil spill by Canadian Pacific Railway in Minnesota last week, the questions immediately turned to whether the crude oil was from the oilsands.

Whether it was (as in Arkansas) or wasn't (as in Minnesota) didn't seem to matter, as it simply added to an already politicized debate.

Environmental catastrophes or not, they are PR disasters....
(2 April 2013)

A train derailing, spilling 30,000 gallons of oil is still not a reason to build Keystone XL pipeline.

Chris Tackett, Treehugger
One of the arguments used by supporters of the Keystone XL pipeline is that pipelines are safer than transporting the oil via the rail roads, as is currently being done. Well, fans of that argument gained an anecdote in their favor when a mile-long train hauling Canadian oil derailed yesterday in Minnesota, spilling some 30,000 gallons.

Reuters reports:

The major spill, the first since the start of a boom in North American crude-by-rail transport three years ago, came when 14 cars on a 94-car Canadian Pacific train left the tracks about 150 miles northwest of Minneapolis near the town of Parkers Prairie, the Otter Tail Sheriff's Department said.

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd, the country's second-largest railroad, said only one 26,000-gallon tank car had ruptured, adding it was a mixed freight train.

Ah, you can already hear the Keystone fans revving up their talking points, "This wouldn't happen if we had a pipeline! Trains are too dangerous!"...
(28 March 2013)
The estimated amount of oil spilt as a result of the train crash was subsequently reduced to 15,000 gallons. - ed

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