Moving Oil by Rail

“The fiery derailment of a 106-car oil train in North Dakota on Monday is the latest manifestation of the perils that come with expanding shipments of the country’s Bakken oil bounty by rail. The Wall Street Journal has a good update, as does NPR. An Associated Press report included this context:

Government regulators defended their record on moving hazardous materials by rail, noting that 2012 was the safest year in the industry’s history. But oil trains have bucked that trend, thanks in part to the massive amount of oil being moved out of western North Dakota, where the industry’s rapid growth is far outpacing pipeline development.

DotEarth in NYTimes

Fights have begun in Washington state and Oregon over rail shipments of tar-sands and other crude.  Here Jacques Leslie reviews the growth of train traffic.

 a 2009 shipment is now considered a bellwether event, marking the first significant movement of U.S. crude oil by rail in many decades. Less than four years later, railroads have shipped as much as 600,000 barrels a day from the Bakken and are transporting crude not just from North Dakota but from oil-fracking sites in Montana, Texas, Utah, Ohio, Wyoming, Colorado, and southern Canada. Across North America, trains are now moving nearly a million barrels of crude a day, and that number will continue to grow rapidly.

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