Tag Archives: Toluene

Earth Day: Tell Big Oil to knock it off – plug-and-play tweets and posts

Repost from Stop Fooling California (On Twitter)
[Editor:  Some thoughtful and clever images below.  Repost wherever….  – RS]

Stop Fooling California

April 23, 2015

Stop Fooling CAYesterday we celebrated the 45th anniversary of Earth Day.

And you can’t think of the earth without thinking about the way Big Oil’s business model is based on exploiting resources that belong to us all.

Case in point: Kern County’s depleting oil fields is a symptom of ecological overshooting. And Big Oil adds insult to injury when they contaminate our precious water supply with their toxic waste.
Perhaps actor Ed Begley, Jr., summed it up best, “I don’t understand why when we destroy something created by man we call it vandalism, but when we destroy something created by nature we call it progress.”

This Earth Day let’s tell Big Oil to knock it off – for the sake of every person living here. Find plug-and-play tweets and posts below to help get the word out.

Embedded image permalinkTwitter: #BigOil is contaminating CA’s aquifers. Shut them down #waternotoil #StopFoolingCA  @cleanh2oca pic.twitter.com/rvN1Ye4hOD
Facebook:  Everyday, the oil industry is contaminating California’s aquifers.
#WaterNotOil
Embedded image permalinkTwitter: #BigOil illegally dumps chemical waste in hundreds of unlined pits in #Kern. #WaterNotOil #CAdrought #StopFoolingCA pic.twitter.com/ZiDDiXcY9W
Facebook:  Big Oil illegally dumps chemical waste into hundreds of unlined pits in Kern County. You know, so it can seep back into the ground.Why? How do you dispose of your toxic waste?#WaterNotOil
Embedded image permalinkTwitter: #BigOil’s waste forced farmers 2 pull up crops. Just. Stop it. #WaterNotOil #StopFoolingCA pic.twitter.com/pomWu2PSwg
Facebook:  Mike Hopkins had to pull up his cherry trees in 2013 and filed a lawsuit against the oil companies with injection wells around his orchards.“We’re farmers,” Hopkins said. Pulling up the withered fruit trees “broke our hearts.”
Read about Mike here: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/3489997-181/california-allowed-oilfield-dumping-into?page=3
Embedded image permalinkTwitter:Of all the ways to waste water, #fracking is definitely the dumbest. http://bit.ly/1DpwYyo #StopFoolingCA #CADrought pic.twitter.com/vvUeOsZdjH
Facebook:
Out of all the ways to waste water in California, oil extraction is possibly the worst and definitely the dumbest.
#StopFoolingCA
Embedded image permalinkTwitter: Looks like an action movie. It’s actually just @BP_Press making “safe” #energy http://lat.ms/1zCsbEQ pic.twitter.com/3FKIwIkKYM
Facebook:  It’s been five years since BP’s Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 people and spilling millions of gallons of crude oil.Yet the risk to the Gulf of Mexico is as high as ever.How’d Big Oil pull that off?http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-0420-smith-bp-20150420-story.html
Embedded image permalinkTwitter: “Toxic chemicals #BigOil pumps into our water a #tradesecret.” -Nobody ever. #StopFoolingCA http://bit.ly/1INhS5H  pic.twitter.com/yMhlCnk6nf
Facebook:  We respect intellectual property. For example, McDonald’s doesn’t need to tell us what’s in its secret sauce (although we know it’s just Thousand Island Dressing, right?).But you know what we can’t respect? Not telling us what toxic chemicals you’re pumping into our water because it’s a ‘trade secret.’ That’s not your water, Big Oil.http://bit.ly/1INhS5H
#ShutThemDown #WaterNotOil #StopFoolingCA

KFBK News Radio: How safe is Sacramento?

Repost from KFBK News Radio, Sacramento CA
[Editor: Two part series, both shown below.  Of particular interest: a link to 2014 California Crude Imports by Rail.  Also, at the end of the article an amazing Globe and Mail video animation detailing the moments leading up to the devastating explosion in Lac-Megantic Quebec.  – RS]

Part 1: How Safe is Sacramento When it Comes to Crude-by-Rail?

By Kaitlin Lewis, January 16, 2015


Two different railroad companies transport volatile crude oil to or through Sacramento a few times a month. The trains pass through Truckee, Colfax, Roseville, Sacramento and Davis before reaching a stop in Benicia. Last week, a train carrying the chemical Toluene derailed in Antelope.

KFBK’s Tim Lantz reported that three cars overturned in the derailment. There was initially some concern about a possible Hazmat leak.

Union Pacific Railroad insists over 99 percent of hazardous rail shipments are handled safely.

Most of the oil shipped in California is extremely toxic and heavy Canadian tar sands oil, but an increasing portion of shipments are Bakken crude, which has been responsible for major explosions and fires in derailments.

Firefighters around the region are being trained on how to respond to crude oil spills.

However, Kelly Huston with the California Office of Emergency Services says 40 percent of the state’s firefighters are volunteers.

“They’re challenged right from the get-go of being able to respond to a catastrophic event like a derailment, explosion or spill of a highly volatile compound like crude oil,” Huston said.

Since 2008, crude by rail has increased by 4000 percent across the country.

By 2016, crude-by-rail shipments in California are supposed to rise by a factor of 25.

Union Pacific Railroad hosted a training session in November 2014.

Six out of the eight state fire departments listed as having completed the course confirm they were there.

“We were trained in November,” Jerry Apodaca, Captain of Sac City Fire, said.

When asked when he received the first notification of crude oil coming through, he said he didn’t have an exact date, but that it was probably a month or two prior to the training — in September or October.

Apodaca says the U.S. Department of Transportation requires railroads to notify state officials about Bakken oil shipments.

“Basically it just says in this month’s time, there should be 100,000 gallons going through your community. So it didn’t really specify when, or where, or how many cars or what it looks like,” Apodaca said.

And Paul King, rail safety chief of the California Public Utilities Commission, says it’s not easier to distinguish which lines transport Bakken oil through an online map.

“It was hard to interpret and it was too gross. Basically, the whole state of California on an 8 1/2 by 11 piece of paper with what appears to be a highlighter pen just running through the counties,” King said.

See a map of North American crude by rail.
California rail risk and response.
2014 Crude Imports by Rail

PART 2: How Sacramento’s First Responders Will Deal with Oil Spill


KFBK told you Sacramento’s firefighters were being trained on how to respond to a crude-by-rail derailment after shipments had already been going through the region in Part 1.

In Part 2, KFBK’s Kaitlin Lewis will tell you how Sacramento’s first responders will handle a possible oil spill, and what caused that train derailment along the Feather River Canyon.

It’s called a bomb train.

On July 6, 2013, 47 people were killed in Canada when a 73-car train carrying crude oil derailed.

About 30 buildings in the  Lac-Mégantic downtown district were destroyed. The fire burned for 36 hours.

“If we have a derailment and fire of crude oil, fire departments are going to throw large quantities of water and foam to cool the tanks and to put a blanket on the liquid that’s on the ground to help smother that fire,” Mike Richwine, assistant state fire marshal for Cal Fire, said.

Richwine says that’s the only operation for a spill/fire.

In December, 11 cars carrying corn derailed along the Feather River Canyon.

Paul King, rail safety chief of the California Public Utilities Commission reveals the cause was a rail line break.

“That was probably the most concerning accident because that just as well could have been one of the Bakken oil trains, the corn, you know, ran down the bank. It was heavy, and it consequently does put more force on the rail, but it’s about the same weight as an oil train,” King said.

Aaron Hunt, a spokesman for Union Pacific says California has more than 40 track inspectors and 470 track maintenance employees.

“In addition to that, cutting edge technology that we put in to use for track inspection. One of those technologies is our geometry car. It measures using lasers and ultrasonic waves, the space between the two rails — makes sure that space is accurate,” Hunt said.

But Kelly Huston, deputy director of California’s Office of Emergency Services says the real challenge is preparedness in remote areas like the Feather River Canyon, which is designated as a High Hazard Area due to historic derailments.

“In some more metropolitan areas, your response may be quicker and they’ll have that gear and the training and knowledge of, like, how do we fight this kind of fire? And in some areas, like in the more remote areas like we talked about in the Feather River Canyon there’s going to be perhaps maybe volunteer firefighters that have the basic equipment,” Huston said.

The Feather River feeds the California Water Project, which provides drinking water for millions of Californians. The nearest first responder is Butte County Fire Department, which is approximately 31 miles away.

There may be a hitch in California’s new law

Repost from FOX40 Sacramento, Stockton, Modesto

New California Law Aims to Ease Oil Train Safety Worries

January 7, 2015, by Sonseeahray Tonsall


ANTELOPE- Last May, after devastating rail crashes made more damaging by a particular kind of crude oil being carried, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued an emergency order.

It said if more than a million gallons of that crude was moving on the rails, local emergency crews had to be notified.

California’s legislature tried to make that kind of notice permanent – not just for oil but also for 25 of the most toxic substances traveling the rails.

But there may be a hitch in California’s new law.

“Yesterday was a good example of a derailment of  a toxic substance, except it didn’t leak and there was no immediate  threat. But imagine that same rail car going through the Feather River Canyon and polluting the water source for millions of people in California,” Kelly Huston,  Deputy Director of the California Office of Emergency Services said.

Monday’s derailment in Antelope of Union Pacific rail cars carrying poisonous toluene is just one reason why the state Office of Emergency Services has to play the ‘what if’ game every day.

A new state law in effect as of January 1 is supposed to reduce the worry of some of those what-ifs, especially when it comes to the growing number of rail cars shuttling through the Sacramento region, loaded with the kind of highly flammable Bakken crude oil that’s exploded in other train derailments.

“Accidents happen, but our job as a society is to make sure accidents don’t become tragedies,” Assemblyman Mike Gatto said.

The Glendale area democrat co-sponsored AB 380, the new law requiring rail companies to notify emergency responders  of what threats could be riding the rails in their area.

“What’s unique about this legislation is that we’re working with the railroads to try to provide more real-time information…sort of like an Amtrak schedule,” Huston said.

Right now, those details come to emergency crews after the fact, not in advance when they could prepare.

The other unfortunately unique thing about this law is that rail carriers can still argue they don’t have to follow it, even though implementation is supposed to be complete by January 31.

“It is a delicate balance because the  railroads are federally regulated which means  federal laws pre-empt state laws in most cases,” Huston said.

So even though California’s done all it can, it remains to be seen if rail companies will cooperate with a law that could save lives.

Under the continuing federal emergency order, Cal OES gets the shipment information from rail carriers.

Huston would like to create a system that first responders can log in to themselves and get the information real-time.

The effort would not compromise a oil producer’s proprietary information, they said.