Sunday, August 17, 2014

Bakken Kraaken Lac Mégantic et cetera.

Updated: October 16 2014 to include derailment and fire at Clair, Saskatchewan.
Updated: February 21 2015 to include Gogama, Ontarion & Boomer, West Virginia.
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People's Climate March: September 21 2014 NYC.
The People's Climate March website is replete with good information. 350 Toronto are coordinating bus transportation from Toronto and lodging in NYC. Please give them your support in this important work.

Brian Gable: Train Bomb.
Are they moving this oil because their fellow citizens will be cold without fuel oil? Or will have to walk to the store? No.

They are moving this oil for EXPORT. Dig it!

These are TRAIN BOMBS, nothing less. A cell of Al Quaeda operatives couldn't do better.

And of course these people (these entrepreneurs and adherents, both men and women y'unnerstan') are increasingly DESPERATE because their pipeline plans are being frustrated.

Desperate for what? (One may well ask.)

Lac Mégantic, Québec - Saturday July 6 2013:
Saturday July 6 2013: Lac Mégantic, Québec.Saturday July 6 2013: Lac Mégantic, Québec.Saturday July 6 2013: Lac Mégantic, Québec.
A runaway train of 72 tank cars loaded with a volatile crude oil crashed and exploded in the centre of Lac-Megantic, Que., killing 47 people and destroying half the downtown area. The train, owned by Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway, was unmanned at the time.

Gainford, Alberta - Saturday October 19 2013:
Saturday October 19 2013: Gainford, Alberta.Saturday October 19 2013: Gainford, Alberta.Saturday October 19 2013: Gainford, Alberta.
Thirteen CN tanker cars - four laden with petroleum crude oil and nine carrying liquefied petroleum gas - came off the rails just after midnight in the hamlet of Gainford, about 80 kms west of Edmonton. At least two explosions and a massive fire followed. No injuries.

Aliceville, Alabama - Friday November 8 2013:
Friday November 8 2013: Aliceville, Alabama.Friday November 8 2013: Aliceville, Alabama.Sunday November 10 2013: Aliceville, Alabama.
Thirty (of ninety) cars of a crude oil train on the Alabama & Gulf Coast Railway - one of the 45 former RailAmerica lines Genesee bought for $1.4 billion - derailed and exploded in western Alabama. Some dozen of the cars went up in flames that only finally died down by Sunday in the most dramatic U.S. accident since the oil-by-rail boom began. No one was injured or killed but the isolated wetland area is drenched in crude oil.

Casselton, North Dakota - Monday December 30 2013:
Monday December 30 2013: Casselton, North Dakota.Monday December 30 2013: Casselton, North Dakota.Monday December 30 2013: Casselton, North Dakota.Monday December 30 2013: Casselton, North Dakota.
A westbound BNSF (Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway) Railway train carrying grain derailed first Monday afternoon, possibly due to a broken axle, and a portion of it fell onto an adjacent track carrying the eastbound BNSF oil train. Eighteen cars on the 106-car oil train derailed half a mile from the centre of town and several burned. No one was hurt, but many of the 2,400 residents in nearby Casselton temporarily evacuated due to potentially unsafe air.

Wapske (near Plaster Rock), New Brunswick - Tuesday January 7 2014:
Tuesday January 7 2014: Wapske (near Plaster Rock) New Brunswick.Tuesday January 7 2014: Wapske (near Plaster Rock) New Brunswick.
17 cars of a 122-car train derailed and caused a huge fireball near Plaster Rock. The petroleum products originated in Western Canada and were destined for the Irving Oil Refinery in St. John, because in the wake of the Lac Megantic derailment the MM&A line through Lac Megantic can no longer be used to transport dangerous goods. As a result, Irving Oil uses the CN line from Montreal through Quebec City that crosses over the bridge to the South shore through Rimouski and Matane and then through Plaster Rock to St. John. Nobody was injured during the blaze but about 150 people were evacuated.

Lynchburg, Virginia - Wednesday April 30 2014:
Wednesday April 30 2014: Lynchburg, Virginia.Wednesday April 30 2014: Lynchburg, Virginia.Wednesday April 30 2014: Lynchburg, Virginia.
CSX derailment: 15 tankers carrying crude oil derail and catch fire in Lynchburg, Virginia, striking fears of water contamination in the local area and beyond.

LaSalle, Colorado - Friday May 9 2014:   A DUD!
Friday May 9 2014: LaSalle, Colorado.Friday May 9 2014: LaSalle, Colorado.Friday May 9 2014: LaSalle, Colorado.
Six of 100 cars in a Union Pacific crude oil train derailed west of LaSalle, about 45 miles north of Denver. The spill was contained to a ditch and didn't reach the nearby South Platte River.

Clair, Saskatchewan - Tuesday October 7 2014:   RIGHT ON SCHEDULE!
Tuesday October 7 2014: Clair, Saskatchewan.Tuesday October 7 2014: Clair, Saskatchewan.Tuesday October 7 2014: Clair, Saskatchewan.
Canadian National Railway (CNR): 26 cars of a 100-car mixed-freight train derailed Tuesday about 190 kilometres east of Saskatoon and about a kilometre away from the centre of Clair, Saskatchewan. Several 111-style tank cars carrying petroleum products ruptured and caught fire. The town (population 50) and surrounding farms were evacuated. CN spokesman Jim Feeny claims that “We are required to operate them [111-style cars]. We have no choice in that matter.” Was Stephen Harper himself there holding a gun to Jim Feeny's head then I wonder? I guess so.

Gogama Ontario - Saturday February 14 2015:
Saturday February 14 2015: Gogama Ontario.

Boomer, West Virginia - Monday February 16 2015:
Monday February 16 2015: Boomer, West Virginia.Monday February 16 2015: Boomer, West Virginia.Monday February 16 2015: Boomer, West Virginia.Monday February 16 2015: Boomer, West Virginia.

In any event, the central issue is not the safety of the cars but the safety of assisting in the consumption of petroleum fuels which may be the death of our species.

Basically once every couple'a months they blow the fuck out of a bit of real estate; and if you are unlucky a bunch of people die. We could call it Train Bomb Roulette then eh?

And the volume shipped is increasing dramatically: In the US crude shipments went from 9,500 carloads in 2008 to more than 400,000 in 2013 (more than doubled every year); in Canada 144 carloads were shipped in 2009, 53,000 in 2012, and 128,000 in 2013 (about three orders of magnitude increase, 1,000 times, in four years).

An interesting prespective: Grain Piles Up, Waiting for a Ride, as Trains Move North Dakota Oil.

And those above are just the train bombs that detonated. The list of (simple?) derailments is much much longer - once or twice a week - and any one of the derailments could be as awful as Lac Mégantic just by changing one or two arbitrary factors (say, a minute earlier or later and a spark).

[This list is a work in progress. ... ]

May 21, 2013: Five cars on a CPR train derailed near the village of Jansen in southeastern Saskatchewan and one of them spilled more than 91,000 litres of oil. There were no injuries.

May 23, 2013: Police in the southern Alberta community of Okotoks had to respond to an unusual call when a runaway train car rumbled through town. They said the wayward train car was empty and eventually stopped when it bounced off the tracks. No one was injured.

June 27, 2013: Seven cars derailed as a bridge over the flood-swollen Bow River in Calgary collapsed as a CPR train tried to cross it. Five cars carried petroleum products, one was filled with ethylene glycol and one was empty. No spills or injuries were reported but Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi demanded answers.

July 8, 2013: An ammonia leak from a train caused the evacuation of roughly one-quarter of the population of the small northern Ontario town of Gogoma. No one was injured.

July 27, 2013: A CPR locomotive and seven tanker cars carrying oil left the tracks in Lloydminister, which straddles the Alberta-Saskatchewan boundary. Some diesel spilled from the locomotive and was contained. RCMP said nothing spilled from the cars, no one was injured and no evacuations were necessary.

September 11, 2013: Eight cars of a Canadian Pacific Railway train carrying a diluting agent used in oil pipelines derailed at a rail yard in southeast Calgary. There were no injuries and no leaks from the cars, which were left lying on their sides. More than 140 homes were evacuated briefly.

September 25, 2013: Seventeen CN rail cars, some carrying flammable petroleum, ethanol and chemicals, came off the tracks near the village of Landis, in western Saskatchewan, in the middle of the night. A nearby school was closed as hazardous material crews cleaned up spilled oil. No one was injured.

October 7, 2013: Four empty tanker cars that had been used to carry jet fuel went off the track in Brampton, Ont. A CN employee suffered minor injuries and the derailment caused commuter delays for GO Train travellers.

October 17, 2013: Residents in the northwestern Alberta town of Sexsmith were forced from their homes after four CN rail cars carrying anhydrous ammonia left the rails. The cars remained upright and there were no leaks.

January 2014:
        07 Plaster Rock, NB - KABOOM!
        20 Philadelphia, PA
        26 Edmundston, NB
        28 Molino, FL
        31 New Augusta, MS
February 2014:
        06 Sedalia, CO
        11 South Shore, KY
        11 Jacksonville, FL
        13 Vandergrift, PA
        19 West Jordan, UT
        20 Westford, MA
        22 Covington, KY
        23 St-Henri, QC
        27 Great Falls, MT
        28 Selkirk, NY
March 2014:
        11 Mortlach, SK
        14 Clifton, AZ
        20 White Pigeon, MI
        21 Proctor, MN
April 2014:
        07 Glens Falls, NY
        09 Philadelphia, PA
        12 Slateford, PA
        14 Nairn, ON
        30 Lynchburg, VA - KABOOM!
May 2014:
        08 Estevan, SK
        09 LaSalle, CO
        12 Albany, NY
        23 Fort Frances, ON
        31 Tulsa, OK
June 2014:
        07 McKeesport, PA
        09 Pictou County, NS
        16 Tuscaloosa, AL
        20 Winnipeg, MB
        22 Blytheville, AR
        23 Phoenix, AZ
        23 Navasota, TX
July 2014:
        01 McKeesport, PA
        02 Sewickley, PA
        03 Superior, MT
        04 Whitecourt, AB
        10 Brockville, ON
        13 Three Hills, AB
        16 Mortlach, SK
        17 Everett, WA
        18 El Paso, TX
        20 Slinger, WI

Sources: See Wikipedia for a List of rail accidents (2010–present) and here and here and

Cuba (again, again, again, again):
Brian Gable: The Oil-Cuba connection.
The question is not, "Why ship to such a faraway totalitarian communist regime when there is one much closer to hand?"

Neither is it, "Oh look! Aren't Stephen Harper and his cronys a bunch of greed-head hypocrites?"


The question is:

"Why are we not emulating and repeating the successful experiment which was run in Cuba several decades ago to see what happens when you just turn off the oil?"

WTF Is Wrong With You People?

Kraken.Kraken.On a lighter note there is of course no connection between Kraaken & Bakken beyond alliteration. Ho hum. Kraaken is a mythical sea monster Hafgufa (sea mist) from 14th century Iceland & Scandinavia (see Wikipedia); and Henry Bakken was a North Dakota farmer in the 1950s (see Wikipedia).

More tenuously (stretching and reaching but not grasping) Tennyson gives us "Far, far beneath the abysmal sea ... the Kraken sleepeth," which might divert us into Tolkein's trilogy (is his Watcher in the Water a Kraaken?), even A.S. Byatt's Ragnarök and the sea snake Jörmungandr.

"Roll on, thou deep and dark blue ocean - roll!" is Byron; but what I remember is Ivy Richards, a white-haired old lady who taught us English in high school - she would recite certain passages in her wonderful voice, and this was one of those certain pasages. "Like a drop of rain, he sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan." [Man that is, humankind.]

We might also consider the Leviathan of Job and Isaiah and go from there to Captain Ahab's nemesis, the great white whale. In his single-minded arrogance Ahab easily conjures up our Captains of Industry driving their train bombs, spewing neonicotinoids &c. (and may they suffer similar fates). "Will he [Leviathan] make a covenant with thee?" asks God, and we all know he won't (though we go right on calling Earth our Mother).

 :-)None of these figure anywhere (that I know of) as 'one-eyed trouser snakes' so we can transcend both God and feminist correctitude in a single imaginative leap.
Be well gentle reader.
[Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.]
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