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  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Jul 9, 2013 2:47 PM Flag

    Rail disaster underscores risks in oil transportation

    Rail disaster underscores risks in oil transportation

    July 9, 2013 at 10:49 am
    Zain Shauk and Jennifer A. Dlouhy
    Houston Chronicle

    A deadly crude oil train disaster in Canada has brought renewed scrutiny to the growing use of rail to carry oil – including hundreds of thousands of barrels in Texas – and prompted worries that the higher volume will mean more accidents.

    Though rail proponents say moving crude by train is safe, federal regulators and others say that pipelines are safer, a stance that has played a role in the debate over the planned Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Texas coast.

    And regardless of the relative safety of the two transportation modes, the mere fact that more crude trains are on the rails increases the possibility of accidents like the one Saturday in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec.

    At least 13 people died and dozens were injured as a portion of the town was flattened by exploding carloads of oil when a train derailed there.

    Disaster: Death toll grows in Canada oil train accident

    The train was moving oil east from the Bakken shale play in North Dakota to a refinery in Canada, the Associated Press reported.

    Parties to the political debate over transport were muted in their response to Saturday’s tragedy. The oil industry lobbying group American Petroleum Institute declined to comment and a representative from the Natural Resources Defense Council did not respond to phone calls.

    Rail car loads soar

    The Sierra Club environmental group expressed wishes for the safety of residents and responders in Lac-Mégantic, and said the accident “strengthens our resolve to move beyond fossil fuels so communities in Canada, the U.S. and around the world are no longer threatened by industrial disaster, toxic pollution and climate disruption.”

    Energy companies are moving more oil by rail because trains can serve markets that don’t have pipelines, said Jackie Forrest, senior director of North American oil market research for IHS.

    And as railways have ta

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