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View Diary: From West Virginia to Wall Street: Greed shows the need for tough, smart regulation (102 comments)

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  •  To connect two stories.... (8+ / 0-)

    Those chemical tank farms are about two times bigger in storage volume than the typical tank car hauling oil from Canada or North Dakota to a refinery.  The derailment and explosion in Quebec is costing Canada an estimated billion dollars, but the typical tank car is not that modern or new.  The railroads don't want to do back and retrofit the tanks to make the double walls or explosion proof systems that are really needed.

    Far more toxic products are shipped on trains. But those products, like chlorine, are transported in pressurized vessels designed to survive an accident. Crude oil, on the other hand, is shipped in a type of tank car that entered service in 1964 and that has been traditionally used for nonflammable hazardous liquids like liquid fertilizers.

    Safety officials have warned for more than two decades that these cars were unsuited to carry flammable cargo: their shell can puncture and tears up too easily in a crash.

    In 2009, a train carrying ethanol derailed and exploded, killing one person in Cherry Valley, Ill. The National Transportation Safety Board said the inadequate design of the tank cars made them “subject to damage and catastrophic loss of hazardous materials.”

    After that accident, railroads and car owners agreed in 2011 to beef up new cars with better protections and thicker steel. But they resisted improving safety features on the existing fleet because of cost. They also argued that thousands of new cars were being ordered anyway, so it would be just a matter of time before the fleet was replaced.

    Take a look at the map in the article and see how many large urban areas these trains full of oil are traversing.  It is alarming.

    You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

    by murrayewv on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 09:31:06 AM PST

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