Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Oil Bomb Trains in Saint Paul

I don't know about where you live, but the Twin Cities have been a major hub of railroad activity for a 150 years. Several huge rail yards divide various parts of Saint Paul, particularly, creating almost-impenetrable barriers for pedestrians and bicyclists.

But even worse, these days, is the explosive cargo that is running through our highly populated areas. At any given moment, it's easy to find a train of black tankers sitting somewhere not far from my house.

As we all know, trains seem to be blowing up right and left. The Bakken oil from North Dakota that fills them is more combustible than the usual crude oil, plus, you know... it's on a train that can derail. And then one spark and whoosh!

Here are a couple of oil tanker cars I saw on Sunday:

This train is parked where everyone on I-94 can see it, and trains are frequently parked there. I saw another train parked in a different location yesterday. Note: I was not looking for these trains. They are just there in your everyday life. There's no hiding them.

A recent Daily Circuit show on MPR addressed the topic of "oil bomb trains" with guest journalist Marcus Stern, who recently published an investigative report called Boom: North America's Explosive Oil-by-Rail Problem. He said that first responders are given a schedule of the trains, but that the public is not told because that would be a "security issue."

But the trains are just sitting in plain sight all the time. Anyone can see them and plan for a future bad act, if they have a mind to.

Pipelines are not the answer, either. The answer is to leave the oil in the ground.

No comments: