Tag Archives: Rivers

Kayaktivists: Crude oil pipeline on rails threatens our waterways

Repost from the Wisconsin Gazette

Calling all kayaktivists and more: Crude oil pipeline on rails threatens our waterways

By Citizens Acting for Rail Safety and Milwaukee Riverkeeper,  September 12, 2015 07:35

rail-163472_copyThe dangers of shipping crude oil over and along our waterways will be highlighted by clean water advocates gathering at the confluence of the Menomonee and Milwaukee Rivers, near the railroad swing bridge.

This bridge is one of many in the metro area where trains carrying volatile crude oil cross or travel near local rivers. The railroad system was not laid out with this kind of cargo in mind. Nationally, oil train traffic has increased more than 4,000 percent in the past five years, and oil trains are also much longer, which concentrates the risk of an accident, especially in urban areas.

Crude oil trains threaten the Milwaukee, Menomonee and Kinnickinic Rivers and Lake Michigan.

After decades of clean water work, we are alarmed to see an oil pipeline on rails emerge in our metro area. Work to improve water quality and wildlife habitat has also been an essential part of the revitalization of many parts of Milwaukee including the Third Ward, Menomonee Valley, and the Milwaukee River Greenway, and is critical to success of new efforts to develop the Inner Harbor..

An oil spill would have serious environmental and economic consequences.

Citizens have many questions about emergency response plans if a crude oil train were to derail and oil spill into waterways. Many oil trains — some with 100 cars of more — contain the same quantity of oil as an oil tanker, but are not required to have the same level of spill response plans or safety precautions.

  • Who would respond?
  • How would this oil be contained and cleaned up?
  • What would happen in winter when there is ice cover and oil spill recovery becomes nearly impossible?
  • How would seiche currents impact clean up efforts?
  • What are the implications for our drinking water and quality of life?

Please join clean water advocates for a visibility event highlighting the danger oil trains pose to our waterways.

    • When: Sunday, September 13, 3 p.m.
    • What: A gathering of kayaks, canoes and banners. Paddlers and other clean water supporters will join in singing and drumming with the One Drop ensemble of Jahmes Finlayson and Dena Aronson. Dona Yahola will begin the event with an Ojibwe water prayer and song.
    • Where: Participants will be near the Railroad Swing Bridge at the Confluence of the Menomonee and Milwaukee Rivers. Convergence at the Confluence. Third Ward Riverwalk.

 

 

    CSX Provides Update on W.Va. Oil Train Derailment Cleanup

    Repost from ABC News

    CSX Provides Update on W.Va. Oil Train Derailment Cleanup

    By JOHN RABY Associated Press, Jul 21, 2015, 7:51 PM ET

    GLEN FERRIS, W.Va. – CSX is continuing to closely monitor the environmental impact of a fiery oil-train derailment in southern West Virginia, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.The company held a public informational meeting that drew a sparse turnout Tuesday evening at the Glen Ferris Inn.

    On Feb. 16, 27 cars of a CSX train’s 109 cars derailed during a snowstorm in Mount Carbon. Twenty of the cars leaked oil, some of which burned or was released into the ground.

    Under a March consent order with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the railroad agreed to a long-term plan for cleaning up and restoring the area around the derailment.

    “It’s important for the community to know that we said we would be here,” CSX spokeswoman Melanie Cost said. “This is part of that process. We want to keep the open dialogue for them.”

    Donna Shabdue lives near the derailment site and was forced to evacuate her home for more than a day. She showed up to the meeting to voice her concerns about local emergency response and pleaded for quickly informing the public about future incidents.

    “They need to have a plan,” she said. “We didn’t know what to do. There needs to be a siren somewhere go off to evacuate. We didn’t know what to do. I just want out of there safely.”

    The train was carrying 3 million gallons of Bakken crude and headed to Yorktown, Virginia. In recent years, trains hauling crude from the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana have been involved in fiery derailments in six states.

    The Federal Railroad Administration is investigating the West Virginia accident, which shot fireballs into the sky, burned down a nearby house and caused fires on the ground that smoldered for days.

    The cause of the derailment hasn’t been released. Speed had previously been ruled out as a factor. The FRA has said the train was going 33 mph at the time of the crash. The speed limit was 50 mph.

    CSX said more than 181,000 gallons of crude oil was recovered after the accident. About 10,000 tons of soil has been removed and shipped for disposal. Additional soil removal is planned next to the Kanawha River and a tributary at the derailment site.

    Air, water and soil sampling continues. The water monitoring is at five locations along the river, including a drinking water intake, because of the occasional presence of oil sheens. CSX said the local drinking water supply has been unaffected by the spill.

    Oil-absorbing booms were attached to a metal wall more than 410 feet long in the river as an additional containment measure. The wall will eventually be taken down once the sheens are no longer detected, Cost said.

    Cost declined to disclose how much the company has spent on the cleanup.

      New York says no to Albany oil terminal expansion; Riverkeeper responds

      Press Release from Riverkeeper New York
      [Editor: This from our contact in Albany: “New York State rescinds the Global expansion NegDec (aka, FONSI) and declares the application incomplete.  Cites air issues, spill response issues, potential “significant adverse impacts on the environment”, and EPA concerns.  Letter from the State attached.”  –  RS]

      Riverkeeper Responds to Decision Regarding Albany Oil Terminal Expansion

      For Immediate Release: May 21, 2015
      Contact: Leah Rae, Riverkeeper
      914-478-4501, ext. 238

      Riverkeeper applauds the decision by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation regarding the proposed expansion of Global Companies’ rail-to-barge transfer terminal at in Albany, which would facilitate the transport of heavy “tar sands” crude oil. Riverkeeper calls on the state to follow through on what they’ve begun today and promptly issue a “positive declaration” requiring an environmental impact statement.

      “It is good for New York State that the DEC came to a proper decision in one of the most important environmental matters facing the state. We look forward to participating with the state on a full public safety and environmental review that is robust and protective of our communities and our waterways.”

      The shipment of tar sands crude oil would pose a whole new level of risk to the Hudson River. In the event of a spill, the toxic, sinking crude would mix into the water column and be unrecoverable.

      A lawsuit filed by Riverkeeper and other groups in June 2014 challenged the DEC’s decision not to require an environmental impact statement. Riverkeeper had reminded the DEC that state law required an environmental impact statement on the proposal due to the significant environmental and public safety impacts, ranging from air pollutants to the increased risk of fire and explosion in downtown Albany. The DEC’s own Environmental Justice Policy requires that nearby communities be consulted and informed about proposals that may affect them so that those communities can be meaningfully involved in their review.