More Reasons Not to Ship Oil by Rail
As opposition to new oil pipelines grows in the wake of several recent spills, the rail industry is suggesting that they can ship more oil by rail. Railroaded has reported previously on the environmental risks of shipping oil by rail. There have been many derailments, especially by Canadian National Railway, that have resulted in petroleum and other toxic product spills that have ruined lakes and rivers, killed fish, killed wildlife and negatively impacted tourism (see this link for a few examples).
In addition to the negative environmental impacts of shipping oil by rail, an article in Alberta Oil points out that railways can’t possibly send the volumes of oil to markets that a pipeline can. Transportation tolls on a pipeline are cheaper than for rail. And, railways need to sign long-term contracts with energy companies, something the producers would be reluctant to do unless there is no hope of building more pipelines. The article concludes, “Keep these points in mind the next time you hear someone touting trains as a viable alternative to pipelines in shipping bitumen to thirsty markets. It ain’t happening.”