Monday, October 18, 2021

Line 3, and Bomb Trains, Too!

One of the reasons we've been given over the years for building Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota is that the oil would be shipped anyway, it just would be on trains, and wouldn't that be worse? Trains can derail and burn or explode, as happened in Quebec in 2013, after all.

Oil trains (sometimes called bomb trains, even though the rail roads and oil companies hate that!) go right through heavily populated areas, such as Saint Paul, including my neighborhood. They roll across at-grade crossings in many locations. They sit on sidings where they can be sabotaged.

Now the Line 3 pipeline is complete and moving the terrible tar sands oil, despite Enbridge's treaty violations, their drilling into the aquifers of delicate wetlands and lying about it, and (of course) putting enough carbon out to equal 50 coal-fired power plants.

With all that, what are we being told?

Today's Star Tribune reports that the number of oil trains will increase, too. Under Canadian Pacific Railway's plan, the number of trains would be up to three times as high as now.

CPN and its tech partner claim they've made the trains safer, and they even dare to use the word "sustainability" in their PR, I guess because the oil would float instead of sink when there's a spill?

Oh, and they say it's "safer" because they've figured out a way to add less flammable crap into the tar sands sludge when they make it liquid enough to pump. Bonus: they don't have to list their cargo as hazardous anymore, so no one can keep track of the number of shipments!

Minnesota State Rep. Frank Hornstein (D-Minneapolis), chair of the House Transportation Finance and Policy Committee, questions the lack of transparency from CPN. "We have to depend on the company making a profit to guarantee its safety," he said, and of course, he pointed out that it's wrong to launch this "at a time when a climate emergency is building day by day."

On that note, I must point out that CPN's partner in this rail expansion has just built a brand-new terminal in Port Arthur, Texas, to receive and ship this crap all over the world.

These companies and the people who run them must be stopped. They will not stop on their own until they have burned the last drop, or in this case, the last smudge of sludge.


There's no indication of why using trains to move the oil is necessary from a capacity standpoint, given that there's a pipeline, or what percent of the tar sands oil would be carried by these additional trains. As I posted earlier, the amount of oil the pipeline can carry is vastly more than the available train capacity, so why are oil trains being added, except to increase profits to CPN and its partner, and danger to everyone else?

This is a classic example of externalizing costs.

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