Do You Have A Choice In How Crude Oil Will Move
I very rarely respond to a comment written by an individual , unless it smacks of trying to discredit 250news. I also think I have a right to defend my writing.
On March 13th-Sine Nomine wrote a comment critical of both areas I have mentioned. I have included the piece for your reading.
This is a pretty comical piece. Maybe you should stick to gossip and speculation about local politics, Ben. Even if it were true, that “WE” had to choose between rail and a pipeline, it’s not even a question of which common sense and basic mathematics would choose. Rail would be unquestionably the better choice for this province, because for starters the limited capacity would mean that much less would move, the total environmental impact of a spill would be much mitigated, it would create more jobs and investment and would have much less impact when the winds change. However, since there isn’t anywhere near the capacity with rail that is wanted, it’s a total red herring. The pipeline will still not ever be built though. It will be tied up in the courts until it’s an anachronism.
I am always troubled by the fact that some people feel they can write what they want without fear of reprisal , while hiding behind a veil of secrecy, knowing full well at the time that if they were writing these comments under their own name they would be subject to being exposed as to who they are and the criticism that goes with that. They fear being judged by the entire readership and hence the reason to hide behind the veil.
But to the topic at hand . I wrote the piece because the issue of whether crude oil will move by rail or pipeline is very much an issue that we will face in this province in the near future. Crude oil can move by rail without being subjected to the rigors that the pipelines face, and we are seeing that increasing daily.
Sine Nomine writes that it’s not even a question of which common sense and basic mathematics would choose. That is the question that I asked.
I am not prepared to trip all over myself to suggest that oil should move by rail tanker . You might want to start by asking the survivors of Lac Megantic , the 47 people who died in the blast can’t speak, what would they choose. You might also want to ask the people living near the Mattagami River,in Northern Ontario, where there have been two CN derailments in less than one month. 38 cars of a 94 car train carrying crude oil on fire, and 35 to 40 cars less than three weeks earlier, again a train carrying crude oil. In the latest case the tanker cars were the newer model version, but they still caught fire, and they dumped 1 million litres of crude into the Mattagami River.
The move is afoot to move crude oil from the tar sands to the west coast of either Kitimat or Prince Rupert. The Enbridge pipeline is designed to carry about 500,000 barrels a day through the line. A 120 car train carries about 75,000 barrels. Seven trains a day and , you have the same capacity as Enbridge.
Now to that matter of common sense. Would you sooner have seven trains a day running through the center of, for example Prince George, Vanderhoof, Smithers, Terrace and McBride just to name a few?
There are about 100 level crossings, between Edmonton and Prince Rupert . That means 7 trains a day x 100 crossings, = 700 per day, x 30 days = 21,000 crossings every month, or 252,000 a year . No problem there I guess according to Sine Nomine, common sense would prevail.
Now let’s address the matter of the trains moving along the rivers and lakes of BC. The rail lines were built along the river banks for ease of building. The rail lines were built to go through towns and cities in order to service those centers. Look no further than the oil tanker fire in Prince George along the banks of the Fraser, or the fire and explosion on October 19th-2013 in Gainford , Alberta from a crude oil tanker train that forced the evacuation of the town and its 100 residents.
Now for the matter of if the Railways intend to move crude by rail. There are orders in North America in 2015 for 48,000 tank cars, 30,000 of them for the transport of crude . Now if you have seven trains , with 120 cars , 840 cars to move the crude from the tar sands to the coast becomes very small. Why in the world would you order 30,000 cars if you weren’t going to use them?
The issue was and still is, would you prefer to have the crude oil move by rail or by pipeline, because when you look at the risks involved in the movement by rail suddenly a pipeline attracts your attention.
Problem in all of this, CN does not need to go through the same rigors as the pipeline in order to reach their goal, They only need to have a new type of car in place by 2017, and will that prevent the inherent problems? You need to be the judge .
I’m Meisner and that’s one man’s’ opinion.