Rail Transport of Crude Oil Far More Risky than Pipelines
As the rail industry pushes to transport more crude oil and other petroleum and chemical products, experts, regulators, governments, environmentalists and the hundreds of thousands of people who live near railways in the United States and Canada become increasingly worried about the rail industry’s poor safety and environmental records. For example, the following is a quote from a recent Associated Press article:
“The parade of mile-long trains carrying hazardous material out of North Dakota and Montana and across the country has experts and federal regulators concerned. Rail transport is less safe than pipelines, they say, and the proliferation of oil trains raises the risk of a major derailment and spill … ‘This is all occurring very rapidly, and history teaches that when those things happen, unfortunately, the next thing that is going to occur would be some sort of disaster,’ said Jim Hall, a transportation consultant and former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.
Larger trains are harder to control, and that increases the chances of something going wrong, safety experts said. State and local emergency officials worry about a derailment in a population center or an environmentally sensitive area such as a river crossing … Rail accidents occur 34 times more frequently than pipeline ones for every ton of crude or other hazardous material shipped comparable distances, according to a recent study by the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank.”
Even the Association of American Railroads acknowledges the likelihood of a rail accident is far greater than the chance of a pipeline problem.