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April 26 2016
by Jay Taber
January 2, 2014: “On its website, BNSF reported that a westbound grain train with 112 cars derailed at about 2:10 p.m. Monday about one mile west of Casselton, hitting an eastbound 106-car train carrying crude oil on an adjacent track and causing it to derail, as well. An estimated 21 cars caught fire, some exploding and sending huge fireballs into the blue sky.” [Source] Photo Credit: Shawn Rode Photography
With the lifting of the U.S. crude oil export ban in December 2015, the fracked oil from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota is looking for new export terminals that can handle the skyrocketing increase in oil trains carrying this volatile crude. With the growing movement to stop new oil pipelines — which are much safer for transporting oil than trains — communities that are geographically exposed to the danger of derailing and exploding ‘bomb trains’ are now preparing emergency plans for the half-mile evacuation zone established by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Omitted from the propaganda emanating from environmental organizations advocating against new pipelines, however, is any mention of how to stop the explosive growth in ‘bomb train’ traffic without them. Apparently, they don’t want either, but that would require reestablishing the export ban Congress just lifted, which is an unlikely scenario. The other thing “no pipelines” advocates, i.e. 350 — which is ironically funded by ‘bomb train’ magnate Warren Buffett (owner of BNSF Railway) via TIDES — fail to address, is consumer demand for petroleum products, i.e. gasoline, aviation fuel, and plastic.
As noted in the April 25 issue of Chicago Magazine, Bomb Trains are rolling through densely-populated areas–near homes, schools and hospitals. As noted in the Wall Street Journal, a single tank car of Bakken crude carries the energy equivalent of two million sticks of dynamite. This fact alone has emergency preparedness authorities and firefighters across the country horrified. Even if American citizens are successful in pressuring Congress to reestablish the crude oil export ban, they will still need to address the transport method of oil domestically–the oil that they themselves consume.
[Jay Thomas Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, a correspondent to Forum for Global Exchange, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and journalists engaged in defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations. Email: tbarj [at] yahoo.com Website:www.jaytaber.com]