Vancouver Action Network: monitoring air emissions from Bakken crude oil trains

Repost from Vancouver Action Network
[Editor: take a look – this is a revealing – and shocking – indication of the kind of fugitive emissions we can expect from crude oil tank cars.  NOT in Benicia!  – RS]

Vancouver Action Network Oil Train Monitoring with FLIR Gasfindir GF320 hydrocarbon viewing video camera

Published on Apr 19, 2014

Vancouver Action Network is monitoring the air emissions from Bakken crude oil trains using a FLIR Gasfindir GF320 hydrocarbon viewing video camera.  Our monitoring program is part of Washington State Train Watch 2014 which runs from April 16-27 and has participants in Spokane, the Columbia River Gorge, Washougal, Camas, Vancouver, Fruit Valley, and Everett.  We are recording the number of oil and coal trains which come through our communities.  Go to vancouveractionnetwork.blogspot.com for more info or find us on Facebook.  We have internships!

    James River threatened; some will need alternate water sources

    Repost from CBS6 WTVR Richmond Central Virginia

    City, Chesterfield consider new water sources after crude oil spill from train derailment

    by Scott Wise and Alix Bryan  |  April 30, 2014
    Lynchburg fire (PHOTO: WDBJ7.com)Lynchburg fire (PHOTO: WDBJ7.com)

    LYNCHBURG, Va. (WTVR) – The Lynchburg Department of Emergency Services has responded to reports of a train derailment and fire in area of Depot Grille.

    The trains were carrying crude oil, according to WDBJ. The CSX train was carrying between 12 and 14 CSX tanker cars when it derailed around 1:45 p.m., according to WDBJ, who said on-air that around three or four trains breached.

    There is no report yet why the trains derailed.

    CSX officials worked to remove the portion of the train that is blocking workers from leaving Griffin Pipe Foundry located in the lower basin. Police urged people to avoid the downtown area. Some residents are being evacuated to the E.C. Glass High School.

    The Depot Grille is located at 10 Ninth Street in Lynchburg. The location of the train derailment runs along the James River. There is no word yet exactly how much spilled into the James, or how long that could take to reach Richmond.

    According to a Lynchburg city official who has been at the command post, crude oil is slowly leaking into the James River, affiliate WDBJ reported. Intake stations downstream have been notified. A boom in the river is trying to catch the crude oil.

    Richmond will consider using an alternate water source due to the train derailment.The Department of Utilities will hold a press conference at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the city may tap the old Kanawha Canal system at Tuckahoe Creek.

    Henrico is not switching from the James River, said William Mawyer, Assistant Director for Henrico Public Utilities. He said that intakes are well below the surface of where crude oil resides. He said that they would inform residents of any changes to the water supply.

    Chesterfield gets water from the city, Swift Creek Reservoir and Lake Chesdin. They are isolating and shutting down the lines that come from Richmond and will service the entire county using water from the other two sources. Once the city switches and determines that the water from the alternative source is safe they will open the lines from the city, said Chesterfield’s Public Utilities department, Roy Covington.

    He also said that their main priority was to provide safe drinking water for the citizens of Chesterfield County.

    No injuries have been reported.

    Governor Terry McAuliffe issued the following statement: “This afternoon my Public Safety team informed me of the train derailment and fire in Lynchburg. Immediately after those reports were received the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the Virginia State Police, and the Virginia Department of Fire Programs were instructed to coordinate with local responders and mobilize the resources necessary to respond to this incident.

    “Deputy Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Adam Thiel has been dispatched to the scene and will provide my team and me with constant updates as this situation unfolds. I have also spoken with Lynchburg Mayor Michael Gillette and offered him any and all resources he needs to respond to this incident and keep Virginians safe.”

      Latest derailment, explosion: Lynchburg, Virginia

      Repost from Reuters

      CSX train carrying oil derails in Virginia, bursts into flames

       By Selam Gebrekidan | NEW YORK Wed Apr 30, 2014
      Flames and a large plume of black smoke are shown after a train derailment in this handout photo provided by the City of Lynchburg, Virginia April 30, 2014. REUTERS/City of Lynchburg, Virginia/Handout via ReutersFlames and a large plume of black smoke are shown after a train derailment in this handout photo provided by the City of Lynchburg, Virginia April 30, 2014.

      Credit: Reuters/City of Lynchburg, Virginia/Handout via Reuters

      (Reuters) – A CSX Corp train carrying crude oil derailed and burst into flames in downtown Lynchburg, Virginia on Wednesday, spilling oil into the James River and forcing hundreds to evacuate.

      In its second oil-train accident this year, CSX said 15 cars on a train traveling from Chicago to Virginia derailed at 2:30 p.m. EDT. Photos and video showed high flames and a large plume of black smoke. Officials said there were no injuries, but 300-350 people were evacuated in a half-mile radius.

      City officials instructed motorists and pedestrians to stay away from downtown, while firefighters battled the blaze. Three railcars were still on fire as of 4 p.m., CSX said.

      The fiery derailment a short distance from office buildings in the city of 77,000 was sure to bring more calls from environmentalists and activists for stricter regulations of the burgeoning business of shipping crude oil by rail.

      JoAnn Martin, the city’s director of communications, said three or four tank cars were leaking, and burning oil was spilling into the river, which runs to Chesapeake Bay. She said firefighters were trying to contain the spill and would probably let the fire burn itself out.

      Attorney John Francisco at the firm of Edmunds & Williams, told local TV station WSET 13 he heard a loud noise that sounded like a tornado and then watched as several cars derailed. He said flames streaked as high as the 19th floor of his office building in Lynchburg, the commercial hub of central Virginia.

      “The smoke and fire were on a long stretch of the train tracks. The smaller fires died down pretty quickly. You could feel the heat from the fire,” Randy Taylor, who was working downtown when the train derailed, told the station.

      The U.S. Department of Transportation said it was sending Federal Railroad Administration inspectors to the scene.

      There was no immediate information about the origin of the cargo or the train’s final destination. One of the only oil facilities to the east of Lynchburg is a converted refinery in Yorktown, now a storage depot run by Plains All American. The company did not immediately reply to queries.

      It was not clear what had caused the accident or triggered the fire. CSX said it was “responding fully” to the derailment with emergency personnel, safety and environmental experts.

      Central Lynchburg General Hospital had not had any injured people brought in from the train derailment, spokeswoman Diane Riley said.

      NEW RULES

      Several trains carrying crude have derailed over the past year. Last July, a runaway train in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, derailed and exploded, killing 47 people. Another CSX train carrying crude oil derailed in Philadelphia in January, nearly toppling over a bridge.

      With more trains hauling crude and flammable liquids across North America, U.S. regulators are expected soon to propose new rules for more robust tank cars to replace older models; Canadian authorities did so last week.

      “With this event, regulators could try to expedite the process, and they’ll likely err on the side of the more costly safety requirements in order to reduce the risk of these accidents in the future,” said Michael Cohen, vice president for research at Barclays in New York.

      Tougher rules could drive up costs for firms that lease tank cars and ship oil from the remote Bakken shale of North Dakota, which relies heavily on trains. It could also boost business for companies that manufacture new cars, such as Greenbrier Companies and Trinity Industries.

      Oil trains rolling across the country, often a mile long, have sparked concern in local communities, particularly in New York and the Pacific Northwest. Derailments have occurred in places as far removed as Alberta and Quebec in Canada, and North Dakota and Alabama in the United States.

      In Virginia, environmental groups including the Sierra Club and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation have opposed expansion of crude-by-rail shipments through the region to the Yorktown terminal, which can handle 140,000 barrels per day. CSX’s route through populated areas like Lynchburg and the proximity to the James River have been mentioned as special concerns.

      “Whenever oil is handled around water, a percentage of it gets into the water. This derailment is of major concern to us,” said William Baker, President Chesapeake Bay Foundation. City officials said there was no impact on drinking water.

      CSX has been positioning itself to deliver more crude to East Coast refineries and terminals. In January, Chief Executive Officer Michael Ward told analysts the company planned to boost crude-by-rail shipments by 50 percent this year.

      At the time, Ward said that Jacksonville, Florida-based railroad was working with U.S. regulators to address safety concerns in light of recent derailments and fires.

      (Reporting by Selam Gebrekidan, Joshua Schneyer, Anna Driver, Patrick Rucker, Josephine Mason, Ian Simpson; Editing by David Gregorio)