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  •  Is it exactly known what other chemicals (11+ / 0-)

    is in the tarsand crude oil that is shipped via rail?

    Or is it the same situation that is described  bySteve Horn in this article about the Brakken Shale oil ?

    On January 2, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a major safety alert, declaring oil obtained via hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") in the Bakken Shale may be more chemically explosive than the agency or industry previously admitted publicly.

    This alert came three days after the massive Casselton, ND explosion of a freight rail train owned by Warren Buffett's Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) and was the first time the U.S. Department of Transportation agency ever made such a statement about Bakken crude. In July 2013, another freight train carrying Bakken crude exploded in Lac-Mégantic, vaporizing and killing 47 people.
     "Special Conditions"

    Rather than a normal permit, Marquis was given a "special conditions" permit because the Bakken oil it receives from BNSF contains high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), the same threat PHMSA noted in its recent safety alert.

    Among the most crucial of the special conditions: Marquis must flare off the VOCs before barging the oil down the Mississippi River. (Flaring is already a highly controversial practice in the Bakken Shale region, where gas is flared off at rates comparable to Nigeria.)

    Here they say:
    The move to ship crude via freight trains is part of a larger trend of transporting petroleum products by rail because of a lack of pipeline capacity. According to the Institute for Energy Research, shipments of oil via railways almost doubled in 2012. In a similar finding by the US Energy Information Administration, 356,000 carloads of crude oil and refined petroleum products were shipped by rail in the first half of 2013 — a 48 percent increase from the previous year....

    Unlike an oil pipeline, shipping bitumen by rail would not require added chemicals to dilute the heavy, viscous crude for ease of transport. And oil pipeline spills are three times larger than comparable rail spills. However, railways too, carry all the same environmental risks from spills including damage to ecosystems and, as evidenced by the July tragedy in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, the combination of derailment and the transportation of flammable materials can be devastating.

    On July 6 this year, 47 people died in the small Quebec town after a train carrying crude oil derailed, caught fire, and exploded. The accident — that also resulted in about 1.5 million gallons of oil either burning or leaking into the ground, and a fire that burned for four days — was the deadliest rail tragedy in Canada in over a century.

    "Safety rules haven't kept up with the rapid expansion of oil being moved by rail," says Keith Stewart, Greenpeace Canada’s climate and energy campaign coordinator. Rail cars are prone to spill upon derailment, he says, citing multiple reports from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada dating back to 1994. "When things derail they spill easily and with a derailment that is metal on metal as it is by rail, there are a lot of sparks," Stewart explains. "Sparks combined with a flammable substance is a recipe for a disaster."

    So, is it sure we know what exactly is in the crude oil from the tarsands that is going to be transported by train?

    Will those transports also get "special condition permits"?

    How many of the recent explosions in the derailment accidents of trains that carried crude oil were caused after the derailment or because of the derailment in  comparison to having had an explosions of the chemicals mixed into the crude oil first, that then caused the derailment? What came first, the explosion or the derailment? I think that has not been clearly investigated yet either, but has been suggested, as you can hear in this video. If you have the time to listen to the whole thing. I can not judge this, but it is worth to think about, imo.

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