Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Before (And) After

Keystone XL supporters now capitalize on the still-unexplained Lac-Mégantic disaster to advocate speeding up approval of new pipeline construction in North America.

Meanwhile, a former railroad machinist asks if oil muck can be safely transported at all, by rail or pipeline.

The fire stopped burning late Sunday, and, with the downtown "literally incinerated," there are now 13 confirmed fatalities, 2,000 evacuated (more than 1/2 now being allowed home), and 40 still missing.  Railroad officials are denying negligence.  Fire officials report putting out a fire on the train earlier that evening.  

About 26,000 gallons of oil spilled in the course of events, oil then flowing into the local Chaudière River, (thereby) turning it orange (and) contaminating the drinking water supply downstream in Saint Georges, 80 km (50 miles) northeast, among other locations.  Nature World News reports that 10 municipalities draw their drinking water from the Chaudière River, with problems also described in Saint Martins, upstream to Saint Georges.

 Chaudière River Basin

Via Nature World News
Reporter holds up orange-colored, oil-contaminated water from the Chaudière River.

The oil trains derailed and exploded July 6th causing a massive fire in the small Canadian town of 6,000 near the Maine U.S. border.  The trains are owned by the Montreal Maine & Atlantic Railway Company, Ltd, with more than 800 km (500 miles) of track serving Maine, Vermont, Quebec and New Brunswick.  BBC reports the train had been traveling with 72 oil laden vehicles from Bakken Field in North Dakota to a refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick. 

Here is a Montreal Maine & Atlantic map showing lines from Montreal through Lac-Mégantic to Saint John; here is a Canadian Pacific detail (overview here) of Bakken Shale rail connections. 

Transportation Board Safety (TSB) photos here.

Via the National Post,


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