Reckless Expansion of Crude-by-Rail in North America
Oil Change International has recently released a 30-page report titled, “Runaway Train: The Reckless Expansion of Crude-by-Rail in North America”.
As quoted from the May 2014 report, “This report has detailed the reckless growth of the crude-by-rail trade in North America and described where and how this trade is operating, as well as future plans for the industry. For the past five years, the oil industry has charged forward with this mode of transport without any regard for the safety of the communities it passes through. While the most recent figures for actual crude-by-rail shipments suggests that some one million bpd of crude oil is loaded and unloaded to and from trains every day in North America, the capacity of the system is already over three times that, and could grow to over five times today’s traffic. This threatens thousands of communities across North America with the specter of exploding trains and spilling oil”
A few of the report’s key findings are:
1. 188 terminals in Canada and the U.S. are actively loading and unloading crude oil onto and off trains.
2. Roughly 135 crude oil trains with 100 tank cars each are moving every day through North America which means, at any given time, there are about 9 million barrels of oil moving through North America.
3. If all current and planned operations were utilized to full capacity, 675 trains with 100 cars each would be carrying about 45 million barrels of oil through North America every day.
The report concludes, “Citizens and local governments across North America are taking action to oppose crude trains passing through their communities and to fight against new or expanded terminals in their midst. Further action is needed to ensure that regulators put the safety of communities above profits for the oil and rail industries. Communities need to organize to stop this runaway train in its tracks. This report and the online map that accompanies it seek to assist that process by providing data on what the crude-by-rail industry is doing, where it is operating, and what it has planned.”
This report is a “must-read” for anyone who lives near rail lines and anyone who is concerned about trains, often referred to as “Bomb Trains”, carrying hazardous crude oil through our communities and along our rivers, streams and lakes. Oil Change International will be following up with additional reports in the future that will consider: the economics of crude-by-rail, safety, and climate change issues. See this link for more information from Oil Change International. Railroaded has reported many times in the past on the hazards of shipping oil by rail – see this link.