Loud Message Sent to PBF on Refinery Trains (Delaware Online, 06/06/2013)
With sponsors citing mounting public concern over expanding rail shipments of crude to the Delaware City
Refinery, the House passed a resolution Thursday urging Norfolk Southern Corp. to reduce rail crossing delays and noise caused by trains idling near homes.
H.C.R. 27, co-sponsored by House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, D-Bear, and Sen. Nicole Poore, D-Barbs Farm, would have no force of law and now goes to the Senate.
But nine other New Castle County Democrats signed on anyway to the joint House and Senate measure, which targets a rail operation that PBF Energy recently projected could rise to 185,000 barrels a day by the first quarter of 2014, or about three inbound and three outbound tanker trains daily from the upper Midwest and Canada.
The resolution, approved on a voice vote, has enough clout “to show them that we all have an interest in making sure that they’re providing us with this information,” Longhurst said.
“At this point they need to know how serious we are, that we keep asking these questions and we want them to bring forth the information and recognize that it is a nuisance in the community,” Longhurst said.
Norfolk Southern officials declined to discuss the legislative action Thursday.
“All I can really say is that we’re closely watching the resolution as it moves through the legislative process,” public relations manager David Pidgeon said.
In a related development, Gov. Jack Markell on Thursday signed a measure that eliminated financial liability limits for oil spills, removing caps that had been in place and unchanged since 1977. Limits had been set at $30 million for ships and $50 million for facilities. The change makes those involved responsibile for all damages, consistent with federal law.
Norfolk Southern has reported that its rail business in Delaware will more than double if PBF’s crude-by-rail ambitions live up to expectations. The company also has
Management also, such as PBF in this case, really should anticipate the ramifications of expanding a business at existing locations prior to committing millions of dollars. In this case the only other option is pipelines.
One really has to question the agenda or misguided agenda, some politicians have also. I just get the impression that most politicians have etiquette issues, which often reflects their constituents they represent. The Marcellus and Utica formation have changed the world’s energy landscape, to include in part the petroleum administration defense district power (PADD) power balance. When we have a new challenge as a result of something that is good for the county, all should come together to solve the issues at hand. Otherwise PADD-3 in the end wins! Typically the more conservative-mind school of thought PADD-3 will see this as another opportunity to pull more opportunity away from PADD-1 and eastern rails. Yes indeed the message is loud to PADD-3 at the demise of PADD-1. Hopefully other states like PA, WVa., or VA. will see this as an opportunity to pursue new petrochemical facility development. NS does have an industrial development division as does CSX.
On the rail side, I expressed my concern that if the rails think they have an edge over pipeliners, they better think twice. IMO NS or even CSX should consider buying an existing pipeline system. It’s still surface transportation, arguably safer, and would fill the revenue gap which IMO, a permanent revenue loss of the coal-hauling side of the business. However, NS management has pretty much too much debt currently on the balance sheet. They wasted over 7 billion on share repurchases in the past 6-7 years, which in turn still fails to get the stock above and beyond the mid-seventies to date. That much money would have been a purchase say for an outfit like SXL or Buckeye. Too late now though for the less than optimum-managed eastern Class I rails in regards in to moving petro/NGL products.
When will the democrats make up their mind. They are screaming for lower gasoline prices. Now the democrats in Delware, are adding new rule that will only cost the NSC, more money to move the crude to the refinery. Once again the democrats prove they want to destory big business in AMERICA.
Republicans are screaming for lower gasoline prices, not Democrats. Mitt Romney ran his campaign's energy policy on using lots of coal and getting gas at the pump down to $1.50/gallon. I agree with chrxind in that if NSC has bought into an oil pipeline, they would now control both modes of crude oil transport.