Oil tanker rail cars via Shutterstock. Reproduced at Resilience.org with permission.
The long-awaited oil-by-rail regulations released today [May 1] are basically a guidebook for the oil and rail industries to continue doing business as usual when it comes to moving explosive Bakken crude oil by rail.
DeSmog recently reported on how the Obama administration has worked behind the scenes to help achieve the oil industry’s top goal when it came to these new regulations — allowing the oil producers to continue to put the highly volatile Bakken crude oil into rail tank cars without removing the natural gas liquids that make it such an explosive mixture.
As we’ve reported, there is a relatively simple fix to end, or significantly reduce, the “bomb train” disasters, via a process known as stabilization.
“The notion that this requires significant research and development is a bunch of BS.”
The last Bakken oil train accident in the U.S. was in Galena, Illinois. It involved jacketed CPC-1232 tank cars which are the “safest” tank cars currently on the rails. And yet they still ruptured and there was the typical fire and explosion seen in other Bakken oil-by-rail accidents.
From Tank Cars To Brake Improvements, Public Safety Takes A Back Seat
The oil involved in the Lac Megantic disaster was Packing Group II. So, a couple of months before the 10-year anniversary of that disaster, trains like the one that crashed there will finally need to have modern braking systems.
And as there have been no penalties for operators failing to implement Positive Train Control, there really is no incentive for them to change their behavior.
“The announced regulations are yet another indication of how dangerous energy policies written by and for Big Oil are for our communities and our climate. These weak regulations allow the industry to continue endangering communities with bomb trains that facilitate hazardous expansion of the oil industry.”
“We could have both been more aggressive, but at some point, the manufacturers aren’t going to be able to produce the tank cars we need.”
Image credit: Justin Mikulka