This informative little hit piece was found on the Weather channel page. it details a list of problems, and disasters waiting to happen because of the danger of transporting oil by rail.
•Too few government inspectors. The railroad agency has only 76 track inspectors, assisted by a few dozen state inspectors, to oversee the operations of some 780 railroad companies that manage 140,000 miles of track, plus railroad bridges. By its own estimate the agency can inspect less than 1 percent of the railroad activities under its oversight each year.
•Little oversight of railroad bridges. The FRA has set no engineering standards for railroad bridges, relying almost entirely on individual railroads to inspect, maintain and repair their own bridges and trestles, some of them built more than a century ago. The agency doesn’t keep an inventory or even a count of the bridges, estimated to number between 70,000 and 100,000.
•Secrecy. State and local governments can’t independently assess the condition of local rail infrastructure because their inspectors don’t have access to the railroads’ design and maintenance records, or to the tracks, trestles and bridges themselves. The railroads consider such information proprietary; the tracks and bridges are their private property and disclosure of those materials is voluntary.
•Meager penalties. Fines are low, on the theory that the cost and consequences of an accident are sufficient incentive for railroads to properly maintain their tracks and bridges. In 2013, the FRA issued $13.9 million in fines to an industry whose top-seven revenue gainers alone took in nearly $84 billion.
In other words, in every case, their solutions demanded more government regulation, adding more to the cost of delivery and sucking the profits that would otherwise be used to infrastructure improvements.
What is not mentioned? Pipelines. Specifically the XL pipeline which is specifically proposed to carry exactly this oil from that specific location to the refineries. not one word.
What is mentioned?
Regulators in the United States knew they had to act fast. A train hauling 2 million gallons of crude oil from North Dakota had exploded in the Canadian town of Lac-Megantic, killing 47 people.
Seriously? A train wreck and 47 deaths and REGULATORS need to act fast? I would say at that point calling for fire departments and emergency management people would be the right course of action. And Canada doesn’t have enough of their own regulators? They need more American ones? What business is it of ours if rail cars in Canada explode? Last I checked, Canada was its own country. They can handle it.
Over the next several months, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued two emergency orders, two safety alerts and a safety advisory. It began drafting sweeping new oil train regulations to safeguard the sudden surge of oil being shipped on U.S. rails.
Oh good. We are saved. Regulators and bureaucrats wrote more paper reports and advisories.
There is also mention of the railroads not wanting to spend money to repair the rails. That is just stupid reporting since the railroads spend billions of dollars every year repairing railroads. Like highways for cars, rails need constant replacement. The railroads we have today did not exist 50 years ago. Most of them did not exist 10 years ago. That’s because the railroad companies are constantly replacing them. Ties last between 3-5 years. The steel rails last about ten, depending on how much traffic and the weight of the traffic.
Something that is difficult for activists to understand is, The railroad companies already don’t want to have derailments. A derailment is tremendously expensive for them in lost revenue, damage to stock and liability. They don’t need a single new law or regulator looking over their shoulder to do everything reasonable to prevent an accident. They greatly prefer for everything to roll on and arrive on time. Just like Airlines. Delta does not want to risk a 100 million airplane and the liability of 350 negligent deaths to save a few dollars on skipping a maintenance inspection.
Railcar shipments of oil soared from 9,500 in 2008 to more than 400,000 in 2013.
Oh. Look at that. And how long has the pipeline company wanted to build XL pipeline? Since 2006. It could have easily mitigated this damage and been in operation years ago but for government regulators standing in the way.
What is really at stake here? Railroad companies don’t want to buy expensive new rail cars when the obvious and economic solution is to build a pipeline. When that pipeline does eventually get built, any investment they will have made will be wasted since they won’t get any oil to haul in their new tank cars. The railroad’s solution: Lobby government to protect their investment. First by forcing them to make the investment, then by preventing competition.
This is all about the money. Not the environment. It is all about Warren Buffet getting richer and slipping a few stacks of green to his friends in political office.
Why are 47 Canadians dead? It’s not because there aren’t enough American government regulators. It’s because there are too many. It is because we have a corrupt federal government that uses the power of regulation to enrich connected people. And it is because stupid people vote. And 95% of them reliably vote Democrat, no matter who is running.