The fiery derailment of two trains carrying crude oil in the space of three days underscores the worrisome impact of such incidents.
Images of huge fireballs from the crash of an oil train in West Virginia will have brought back memories for many Canadians of the Lac-Megantic disaster where 47 people died.
Two days before the West Virginia incident, a CN train carrying crude oil from Alberta to Eastern Canada derailed in a remote area of northern Ontario. Seven tanker cars caught fire.
Fortunately, no one died in either incident, but given the increase in oil being shipped by rail, there’s growing concern it’s just a matter of time before another town or city falls victim to a disaster.
The tally of Canadian and U.S. derailments involving oil underscores the need for vigilance:
-April 2014 – 15 crude oil tanker cars derail and catch fire in Lynchburg, Virginia. Oil spills into a river and surrounding area is evacuated.
-December 2013 – oil train collides with derailed grain train near Casselton, N.D., causing fiery explosions. Hundreds of residents flee their homes.
-October 2013 – a train carrying oil and liquefied petroleum gas derails west of Edmonton, Alta. A tanker car explodes and 13 cars are damaged in resulting fire near Gainsford. A major Highway is damaged and nearby residents are evacuated for five days.
It’s noteworthy that these incidents are happening at a time when some activists are trying to stop the Keystone XL, Energy East and Northern Gateway pipelines, saying they’re a threat to the environment. A bigger threat than exploding oil trains? We suggest not.
In the energy utopia envisaged by opponents of all things oil, this crude fossil fuel wouldn’t be needed. The reality is that oil – and its fossil siblings natural gas and coal – will continue to fuel human activity far into the future.
It’s prudent and far safer to send oil by pipeline than load it onto trains that are coming off the rails far too often for comfort.
(Source: full comment can be found at Regina Leader-Post)
(Rebuttal can be found at ikanmedia.tv)