‘What will you do for rail safety?’ – Letter to the City Council from North Dakota

In 9/16/14 Martinez Gazette:

Councilmember and Vice-Mayor:

You have been previously informed that the explosive part of the Bakken oil trains problem has a solution. It needs to be “stabilized” before shipping, and the ND Industrial Commission has the power to require the Bakken oil producers to do this.

Why you are not screaming about this from the rooftops to the media, and to the NDIC, I have no idea.

If you don’t believe me, do your own due diligence, and then do your job to protect your citizens.

A refresher:

Years ago, Bakken oil producers made a business decision to not strip all of the NGLs from the crude before shipping, AKA “stabilization.” They deliberately chose not to remove all heptane, pentane, methane, propane, butane, ethane, isobutane and so on, from the crude oil, before filling the tanker cars.

They make more money if they ship it all. That’s why it explodes during derailments.

They neglected to install the proper equipment and build the infrastructure needed to separate, collect, store and distribute the NGLs. Just like they neglected to do the same for the natural gas. That’s why western ND looks like a birthday cake at a retirement home at night.

Bakken oil trains from North Dakota can be rendered NON-explosive before they hit the rails, if they remove the NGLs, but the ND Industrial Commission hasn’t, and won’t, require it (stabilization) of the crude because it would cost the oil companies money.

The governor, who chairs the commission, has had ND emergency agencies practice for 60 deaths, in the event of a derailment/explosion, in Bismarck or Fargo, but refuses to fix the problem at its root.

The taxpayers shouldn’t be footing the bill to prepare for the next Lac-Megantic. This bill belongs to the oil companies.

What will you do to force the ND Industrial Commission to mandate “stabilization” (not “conditioning”) and protect the lives of hundreds of thousands of your citizens that live, work, or play by the tracks?

– Ron Schalow; Fargo, N.D.

About Martinez Environmental Group

We are a community health and environmental group located in Martinez, CA.
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