Union Pacific still investigating cause of derailment Saturday
By George Johnston, September 29, 2017
A Union Pacific Railroad train derailed in Benicia on Saturday afternoon [September 23, 2017].
The train, consisting of nine hopper cars, derailed near Bayshore Road in the Benicia Industrial Park around 3:40 p.m. No injuries were reported from the incident, and no hazardous materials were spilled. Union Pacific Railroad is currently investigating the situation, representatives for the company said.
Since 2013, at least six train derailments have been reported in the Industrial Park. The most recent prior to Saturday’s accident included two over the course of a week last October. In all instances, no injuries or spillages were reported.
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On Saturday September 23, 2017, several train cars derailed in Benicia’s Industrial Park. A local eyewitness reported passing by the scene at around 11:30pm on the 23rd. He saw ten covered gray hopper cars off the tracks, and rails torn apart, showing damage for about a tenth of a mile.
By midday Sunday, the area was still closed to auto traffic. Local videographer Constance Beutel couldn’t see much, but surveyed the scene from a distance, and posted the result to YouTube.
A quick look back shows that there have been six such incidents in the Benicia Industrial Park in less than five years. *
I wrote to Beutel, indicating that we have a derailment like this on average of more than once a year. She wrote back, “Surely your data is wrong? Didn’t the Valero Crude By Rail draft EIR clearly state that a derailment, given the data, would happen once in 111 years? “
Well, not quite. The prediction was actually that there would be a crude oil release once every 111 years. But given all the catastrophic derailments and explosions during those years, everyone knew that was just an industry snow job.
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President Trump’s nominee to head the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has, as a corporate attorney, personally represented a host of energy and utility companies, many of which do business that is directly impacted by FERC’s decisionmaking. According to Kevin McIntyre’s financial disclosure — obtained by DeSmog and published here for the first time — these include major utilities, fracking companies, pipeline builders, and international energy corporations.
McIntyre is a lawyer who co-leads the global energy practice for the legal and lobbying firm Jones Day, and is currently awaiting final Senate confirmation of his appointment to the nation’s top energy regulatory body. That confirmation may come as soon as this week. Read more.
For the first few weeks after publishing, all was going pretty well.
Nancy MacLean’s book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, was “deeply important” and a “feat of American intellectual and political history,” said a review in Publishers Weekly.
The New York Times said the book joined an emerging corpus of important work of scholars and journalists that was “documenting the systematic, organized effort to undermine democracy and change the rules.” Read more.
The Pentagon is moving forward with plans to protect its bases and operations from rising seas and other impacts of climate change, despite an order by President Trump to halt climate planning.
On March 28th, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order that rescinded all climate change actions within federal agencies. These actions had been mandated by a rule from the former Obama administration that required federal agencies to take the necessary steps to protect their respective agencies from climate threats. The original Obama order required military bases to factor climate change into their planning operations for expansions, existing structures, and future developments. Read more.
A contractor hired by the state of Michigan to independently review an aging oil pipeline running under the Great Lakes was simultaneously working for the pipeline company, documents obtained by DeSmog suggest. The documents contradict the contractor’s earlier claim that it had effectively stopped working for Enbridge once hired by Michigan.
Last year, facing increasing public pressure to shut down Enbridge’s 64-year old pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac between Lakes Michigan and Huron, Governor Rick Snyder convened Michigan’s Pipeline Safety Advisory Board. One of the Board’s first actions was to order studies about the pipeline, called Line 5, and the Board soon hired Calgary-based Dynamic Risk Assessment Systems Ltd. (Dynamic Risk) to provide an alternatives report. Read more.