Tag Archives: oil by rail

Tight Oil, Canada’s Pipeline Capacity & The Trans Mountain Pipeline’s Feasibility

By Roy L Hales

Last March I interviewed internationally recognized energy expert David Hughes at his home on Cortes Island. Publication of this story was delayed, in part, because of a six minute segment in which he discussed some of the issues raised in his newly published report Will the Trans Mountain Pipeline and Tidewater Access Boost Prices and Save Canada’s Oil Industry? However we touched upon a wide range of subjects, including Tight Oil, Canada’s Pipeline Capacity & the Trans Mountain Pipeline’s feasibility.

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Oregon Introduced Legislation Protecting Communities Against Oil-By-Rail Spills

By Roy L Hales

Though both Washington and California call for rail companies to submit oil spill contingency plans, this is not yet a requirement in Oregon. Legislation was introduced in 2015, but the railway industry successfully lobbied against it. This could be changing. On Tuesday January 3, 2016,  Oregon introduced legislation protecting communities against oil-by-rail spills.

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How Much Damage Can Donald Trump Do?

By Roy L Hales

The fears seem especially strong across the renewable and environmental communities. David Suzuki writes that  “a bigoted, misogynistic, climate change denier has been elected to the highest office in what is still the world’s most powerful nation.”  Many fear that President-elect Donald Trump “is set to gut US environmental regulations, open up federal lands for fossil fuel extraction, and quit the Paris climate agreement.” Academics from many North American universities are copying information and data from U.S. government environmental websites before the new administration eradicates it. The next President’s personality “is certainly extreme by any standard.” How much damage can Donald Trump do to America?

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Whatcom County Imposed 60 Day Moratorium On Unrefined Oil Projects

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PMThere were good reasons to exempt railroads from local control when they were first built across North America, but that has changed. The railways might never have been built, if the had not been protected from a multitude of municipal taxes and regulations. There are different challenges today. The question is whether local communities have a right to decide what projects make sense for them. This is the central issue behind the council vote Tuesday night, when Whatcom County imposed 60 day moratorium on unrefined oil projects.

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Transportation Officer Calls For Oil Train Moratorium

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PMThe lag bolts whose failure caused the recent oil-by-rail accident at Mosier were “relatively new.” According to Hal Gard, Administrator of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Rail and Public Transit Division, “new rail was installed at this location in 2013.” In a newly surfaced email to the Federal Rail Administrator for Region 8, this Oregon transportation Officer calls for an oil train moratorium.

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Near Catastrophe Galvanizes Opposition To Oil By Rail

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1More details have emerged in the eight days since a 96-car Union Pacific train, carrying crude oil, derailed at Mosier, Oregon. A railway spokesman announced that the probable cause of this accident was that the lag bolts failed in a number of consecutive rail ties. Though four cars ruptured, only one actually caught fire. Local firefighters battled throughout the night and finally succeeded in suppressing the fire in the early hours of the next day. Mosier’s sewage treatment plant was damaged and is still inoperable but, thanks to the assistance of the neighbouring town of Hood River, all but two of Mosier’s homes once again have water and sewage.  The surrounding communities demonstrated how this near catastrophe galvanizes opposition to oil by rail at two press events this week.

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Mosier Objects To Restarting Rail Traffic

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1Mosier’s sewer system was still turned off this morning. Some of the derailed oil cars still sit beside the tracks, where the town’s fifteen volunteer fire fighters fought to contain the fire throughout Friday and into the night. The town’s acquirers were depleted during the battle. Now Union Pacific wants to resume normal operations but, until they can explain the cause of the accident, Mosier Objects To Restarting Rail Traffic.

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Mosier Was Lucky, No One Was Killed

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1The flames have been put out and a tweet from the Washington’s Department of Ecology says the air quality is good.  Four railway cars, carrying approximately 120,000 gallons of oil, ruptured in yesterday’s incident. No one knows how much oil spilled out, or made its’ way into the Columbia River. (As you can see in the photo above, there was a sheen on the Oregon shore this morning.) No one can flush their toilets, or drink the water, because the town’s sewer plant was directly affected. A local resident said Mosier was Lucky, no one was killed.

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Another Oil-By-Rail Fire Near Portland

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1There are currently only one or two trains going through the Columbia River Gorge every day. Imagine what would happen if all the fossil fuel projects in this region were approved. Up to a hundred trains, averaging between a mile and a mile and a half in length, and would make this same trek weekly. Six months ago, a truck driver was killed in a railway accident within Portland’s city limits. The flames spread to eight railway cars, carrying oil or asphalt, which luckily did not catch fire. There was another oil-by-rail fire near Portland today.

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Do The Pacific Coast’s Climate Leaders Mean Business?

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1On June 1, 2016, the Governors of Washington, Oregon and California joined British Columbia’s Environment Minister and representatives from six West Coast cities, in the Borgia Room of San Francisco’s Westin St. Francis Hotel, to sign what history may show was a key milestone in the struggle to mount a concerted defence against the ravages of global temperature rise. The 2016 Pacific Coast Climate Leadership Action Plan has a strong emphasis on issues like ocean acidification; the integration of clean energy into the power grid; “support for efforts by the insurance industry and regulatory system to highlight the economic costs of climate change; and so-called “super pollutants” (also known as short-lived climate pollutants).” This sounds good, but do the Pacific Coast’s “Climate Leaders” mean business?

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