Railway safety a reason to delay drilling expansion along the Beartooth Front: Video

A report issued yesterday by the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration shows that there is yet another reason Montana residents should be concerned about the proposed expansion of drilling along the Beartooth Front. According to the report, more oil was spilled in railway accidents in 2013 in the US than in the previous four decades combined.

And the 1.15 million gallons of oil spilled in the US in 2013 doesn’t even include this hellacious accident of a train from the Bakken that crashed in Lac-Megantic, Ontario last July, destroying much of the town, killing 47 people and spilling 1.5 million gallons of oil.

To underscore the significance of this report, on Monday night, the same day the report was issued, this train from the Bakken derailed in Philadelphia:

And, of course, there was this horrific derailment in Casselton, North Dakota just three weeks ago:

It doesn’t take a very long look at a map of the Montana rail system to recognize that it’s

Montana Rail System

There are two primary train routes through Montana. One passes right through Columbus (click to enlarge)

just a matter of time before something similar happens in Montana. There are only two routes headed west out of the Bakken, the southern route passing right through Columbus. And if drilling expands in the Beartooth region, Columbus will be the primary loading spot for the extracted oil.

The Department of Transportation met with the American Petroleum Institute (API) last week to discuss the issue. They promised safety changes that will be announced in 30 days.

After that meeting,  API was vocal about the need for change. “The DOT needs to do more than just host meetings,” said Eric Wohlschlegel, director of media relations for the API. “We’re calling on the DOT to take action.” Potential steps include routing changes and tank car changes, but according to the report, the federal government would not be able to make any changes for over a year.

And the state of Montana needs to take responsibility for protecting the safety of its citizens, not just stand by and let the industry expand at the expense of the state’s small towns and rural communities.

The dangers inherent in the transport of oil need to be considered before we rush off to expand drilling along the Beartooth Front.

About davidjkatz

The Moses family has lived on the Stillwater River since 1974, when George and Lucile Moses retired and moved to the Beehive from the Twin Cities. They’re gone now, but their four daughters (pictured at left, on the Beehive) and their families continue to spend time there, and have grown to love the area. This blog started as an email chain to keep the family informed about the threat of increased fracking activity in the area, but the desire to inform and get involved led to the creation of this blog.
Aside | This entry was posted in Community Organization, Politics and History, Fracking Information and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Railway safety a reason to delay drilling expansion along the Beartooth Front: Video

  1. Arleen Boyd says:

    Seems strange that the American Petroleum Institute as calling for the DOT to do more trying to figure that one out.

    Arleen

    From: Preserve the Beartooth Front Reply-To: Preserve the Beartooth Front Date: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 12:49 PM To: Arleen Boyd Subject: [New post] Railway safety a reason to delay drilling expansion along the Beartooth Front: Video

    WordPress.com davidjkatz posted: “A report issued yesterday by the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration shows that there is yet another reason Montana residents should be concerned about the proposed expansion of drilling along the Beartooth Front. According to t”

  2. Pingback: Montana Petroleum Forum at the Elks in Red Lodge, January 30 | Preserve the Beartooth Front

  3. Pingback: More on fetal health issues, railroad safety | Preserve the Beartooth Front

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