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View Diary: More Mystery Surrounds Canadian Ghost Train: Where are the locomotives? (160 comments)

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  •  MI using tragedy to promote XL (15+ / 0-)

    diana furchtgott-roth of the manhattan institute is using this tragedy to promote approval of XL

    if the tragedy alone wasn't disturbing enough - this spin should be enough to turn your stomach

    (as a PS - the only reason I am posting this here is to point You, the diarist, towards what I found to be an incredibly disturbing aspect of this story)

    "I want to keep them alive long enough that I can win them to Christ," - Rick Warren, Professional Greed Driven Scumbag

    by josephk on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 10:03:35 AM PDT

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    •  We can get into the political ramifications later (10+ / 0-)

      and they do need to be discussed, but I will wait until the investigators publish their report.

    •  This accident was easily preventable (20+ / 0-)

      if regulatory agencies bothered to enforce a minimum of common sense safety standards instead of currying favor with corporate criminals.

      Class 1 railroads in the US and Canada routinely and safely haul millions of tons of extremely hazardous materials every year.  It's not complicated if they're required to put safety ahead of profits.

      The sales pitch by XL just shows why many of these energy companies are bottom feeders.  

      "If you can't take their money, eat their food, drink their booze and then vote against them, you have no business being in DC."

      by Betty Pinson on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 11:14:51 AM PDT

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    •  Thanks. That's an important and timely point. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JVolvo, Joieau, Carol in San Antonio

      The Des Moines Register's lead editorial Tuesday: "Rail Accident Shows Importance of Pipelines." They aren't waiting for the investigation to be completed.

      •  Of course they're not waiting. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LilithGardener, Nailbanger

        In my experience (cited above), trains don't do this sort of thing unless railroads are impossibly greedy and woefully under-regulated (unlikely but you never know), or... sabotage. Which is actually not so unlikely.

        Who in the world would wish to sabotage a train carrying stuff that pipelines want to carry?

        •  It may be simpler than that. (5+ / 0-)

          Pure, unadulterated speculation on my part, but I indeed think of sabotage as the reason for this.

          Not a deliberate action vis-a-vis crude oil, but the result of "nothing to do, so let's do something stupid" activity. I have to wonder if there are some very scared teenagers/young adults trying their level best to stay out of the limelight right now.

          I'm a high school teacher in a rural area, and I know my students are often out smoking weed and drinking beer well into the late night hours (they will say the stupidest things out loud). They are so bored, they will do anything for some excitement, including 'messing' with anything that moves. I suspect that Quebecois kids aren't that much different.

          Theory: kids see first fire, and watch it get put out - and everyone else leaves. Kids hop on board, get in the cab of the now shut off locomotive, and begin messing with the controls, brakes and otherwise. Train begins rolling, kids jump off and run away, thinking it will go just a little ways. It doesn't, and chaos begins.

          I'm not addressing the issue of the brakes here, since we don't yet know (if we ever will) what the actual state was with them. I'm just suggesting that different hands may have been involved, adding to the chain of most unfortunate events.

          When I was a teenager, I did know how to release the brakes on a train and so did a few friends: we were railfans (still am, in fact), and the railroad crews would invite us up and show us how everything worked, including the brakes. Did we mess with a train, ever? No, never, not even on trains seemingly parked and shut down. We knew better, and we weren't so bored that we wanted to be talking to cops in a very bad way.

          I'll wait for the results, and I hope I'm wrong with my theory.

          And yeah, I know tarantulas don't really act like that at all, so no snarking, this is the internet damnit!

          by itzadryheat on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 03:19:37 PM PDT

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          •  Heh. Here they blamed it (3+ / 0-)

            on some anonymous hobo in the A-ville trainyard. Never identified or anything, of course. So six of one, half a dozen of the other for buying the excuse. The brakes failed. They were able to establish that much.

            But they got by on the forest fires for decades claiming it was campfires and/or fireworks setting the fires that always followed the tracks exactly, nobody ever thought to suggest the trains were at fault since they went to diesel from steam. The steamers started fires with coal ejecta over their years that burned so hot they sterilized the ground for a foot or more depth. It's amazing there's anything still growing in these mountains. Thankfully resilient and amazingly abudant in spite of it all.

            But no. The sparks from your Made In China fireworks fountain won't start a forest fire if it's rained recently and you don't set it off in a pile of bone-dry leaf litter. We've always known better than that.

      •  what they won't remind us of (8+ / 0-)

        are the pipeline explosions that burn people to death and destroy homes, leave giant craters in cities that incinerate whole blocks, and otherwise create destruction.

        Here are lists:

        Looking only at Texas data from 1986 through 2012, and only at "significant incidents," defined by PHMSA as those that caused either a death or serious injury, cost more than $50,000, released more than 50 barrels of liquid, or caused a fire or explosion, statistics prove that pipeline safety is a major issue that merits considerable attention by the general public and state regulators. It includes incidents through Sept. 28, 2012. Many incidents lack sufficient location data and do not appear on the map. Some incidents, including some of those that took place offshore, have not been assigned a state and are labeled "Not Specified."

        Those "significant incidents" in Texas accounted for 1,669 incidents (21.5% of incidents nationwide), 78 fatalities (14.6% of all deaths nationwide), 371 injuries (15.7% of all injuries nationwide) and propety damage of about $668 Million (9.9% of all damages nationwide), numbers which are staggering considering that natural gas production takes place in at least 34 states and its use is found in all states. Improper monitoring and maintenance of pipelines is the primary cause of these incidents according to safety reports filed with PHMSA and various state agencies, the Railroad Commission of Texas in cases within the State of Texas.

        The nation's energy transportation network includes more than 2.5 million miles of pipeline operated by about 3,000 companies of all sizes. That includes 321,000 miles of onshore and offshore gas transmission and gathering pipelines and another 2 million miles of gas distribution pipelines. Yet PHMSA has funding for only 137 inspectors, and often employs even less than that (in 2010, the agency had 110 inspectors on staff), ProPublica reported in November, 2012.

        and the most horrific I remember:
        The 30-inch pipeline exploded around 5:30 a.m. Saturday, and left a crater about 86 feet long, 46 feet wide and 20 feet deep. Police say the resulting fire probably lasted 30 to 40 minutes. It reportedly was visible about 20 miles to the north in Carlsbad, N.M.
        That happened in 2000. The two survivors ... died several days later, after having been in tremendous pain in a burn unit in the building where my SO works.
        Explosion at Natural Gas Pipeline in New Mexico in 2000

        In August 2000 a natural gas pipeline owned and operated by El Paso Natural Gas Company (EPNG) exploded resulting in twelve fatalities of an extended family camping near the pipeline 30 miles outside Carlsbad, New Mexico. For more information on the explosion please click here:

        The Department of Transportation (DOT) attempted to resolve the claims resulting from this explosion administratively with EPNG but was unable to do so. It used its new authority (under the Oil Pipeline Safety Act) to refer the matter to the Department of Justice’s Environmental Enforcement Section – this was DOT’s first such civil referral.  The cause of the 2000 explosion was determined to be a significant reduction in the pipe wall thickness due to severe internal corrosion on a 50 year old pipeline.

        But I'm given to understand there have been worse ones since, including a block of homes in California

        LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

        by BlackSheep1 on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 02:06:07 PM PDT

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