Train derailment causes major delays north of Fort Worth
By: Josiah Sage, Aug 21 2016 07:50PM CDT, updated Aug 22 2016 08:59AM CDT
Crewmembers believe a bridge failure caused more than 26 rail cars on a Union Pacific freight train to derail north of Fort Worth Sunday night.
It happened around 6 p.m. as the train was traveling over a bridge near Highway 377 in Roanoke. No one was hurt, but five of the train cars ended up in Denton Creek.
Union Pacific said the train was carrying coal, so nothing hazardous spilled into the creek. But it will still take some time to clean up the mess.
“There’s a lot of work that’s been done, a lot of work that’s been done since overnight. When I went on scene just moments ago you could see the big construction equipment tearing apart the rail cars. I guess instead of lifting and removing them they just crushed them and they are in pieces,” said Det. Sandy Pettigrew with the Roanoke Police Department.
The derailment is still causing some traffic problems on Hwy. 377 between FM 1171 and Bobcat Boulevard. The highway is expected to be closed most of the day and that will likely affect traffic heading to the nearby Byron Nelson High School.
Oakland: Utah scraps $53 million plan to ship coal to city
By David DeBolt, 08/19/2016 06:11:11 PM PDT
OAKLAND — Four Utah counties have withdrawn their plan to spend $53 million in state money to ship coal to Oakland, an official said this week.
Carbon County Commissioner Jae Potter’s announcement Wednesday comes less than two months after the Oakland City Council voted 7-0 to ban the storage and handling of coal and petroleum coke in its city.
Potter said the four coal-producing counties will reapply in about a year with a more detailed application. The rural counties continue to support the project and may ask to ship other products like potash through Oakland, Potter said.
Utah lawmakers in March approved a bill to invest $53 million of state money to ship coal to the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal. The $250 million export terminal and logistics center located on the Outer Harbor at the former Oakland Army Base is being built by developer Phil Tagami. Terminal Logistic Solutions, run by Jerry Bridges, has the exclusive option to operate the terminal.
Bridges has said coal would be one of several commodities shipped there; others include soda ash, potash, limestone, soybeans and other produce.
While shipments of coal had support from lawmakers and coal-producing counties in Utah, Oakland residents, activists and city leaders strongly objected to the proposal. The Oakland council vote was the only way to stop the coal trains because the council approved the project in 2013. Leaders claimed coal was not part of the conversation then, but the agreement did not specify what could and couldn’t be shipped at the terminal.
Environmental groups argued West Oakland residents would be exposed to greater risks of respiratory illness.
“Polling shows Utahns don’t want public money spent on a terminal in Oakland that will never ship coal,” Brittany King, an organizer with the Sierra Club’s San Francisco Bay Chapter, said in a statement. “Oakland residents and decision makers fought so hard to keep coal out of their backyard, so we are happy that Utah withdrew a proposal that is not worth money, time or the risk to public health and safety.”
Longtime West Oakland activist Margaret Gordon expressed some skepticism over what would be included in Utah’s new application.
“That economy in that state is built around coal,” said Gordon, who supports the Oakland terminal but opposes coal. “I’m optimistically cautious about the whole thing.”
A spokesman for Tagami did not return a phone call Friday afternoon. A day before the council’s vote in June, Tagami’s attorney wrote in a letter to city leaders that legal action would be imminent if coal were blocked. Attorney David Smith called the council’s position “irrational” and “legally indefensible.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report. David DeBolt covers Oakland.
Protesters Block Train Tracks to 2 Washington Refineries
By Phuong Le, AP, SEATTLE — May 15, 2016, 12:13 AM ET
Hundreds of climate activists on Saturday marched to the site of two refineries in northwest Washington state to call for a break from fossil fuels, while a smaller group continued to block railroad tracks leading to the facilities for a second day.
Protesters in kayaks, canoes, on bikes and on foot took part in a massive demonstration near Anacortes, about 70 miles north of Seattle, to demand action on climate and an equitable transition away from fossil fuels such as oil and coal.
A day before, about 150 activists had pitched tents and set up camp on nearby railroad tracks to block the flow of oil flowing to the nearby Shell and Tesoro oil refineries.
“We can’t wait anymore. We’ve got to do things now,” Clara Cleve, 76, of Edmonds, said Saturday. “Direct action is very effective. My grandchildren are not going to have a place to live unless we move quickly now.”
Cleve said she plans to spend another night in a tent on the tracks and is prepared to be arrested for trespassing if necessary.
The protests are part of a series of global actions calling on people to “break free” from dependence on fossil fuels. Similar demonstrations are taking place in Los Angeles and Albany, New York, on Saturday and in Washington, D.C., on Sunday.
In upstate New York, climate activists gathered at a crude-oil shipment hub on the Hudson River in an action targeting crude-by-rail trains and oil barges at the Port of Albany. A group of activists sat on tracks used by crude oil trains headed to the port. Police did not report any arrests as of midday Saturday. Albany is a key hub for crude-by-rail shipments from North Dakota’s Bakken Shale region.
In Washington state, organizers are targeting two refineries that are among the top sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the state. Tesoro has started shipping Bakken crude oil to its refinery, and Shell is proposing an expansion project that would similarly bring in Bakken crude oil by train.
Officials with both Shell and Tesoro said in earlier statements that they respect the right of people to demonstrate peacefully, and that safety is their highest priority. A Shell spokesman also noted that the company, which employs about 700 workers at the refinery, is proud to be a part of the community and the refinery is a vital part of the region’s energy infrastructure.
BNSF Railway spokesman Gus Melonas said no trains are scheduled through Saturday but he declined to say whether any are expected to run Sunday.
“We had anticipated this and therefore adjusted scheduling with customers,” Melonas said. “At this point, we’re allowing the protest on our property.”
There had been no word of any arrests during the day, Given Kutz, a spokesman for the Skagit County Emergency Coordination Center, said late Saturday night.
The tracks, which connect BNSF’s mainline to Anacortes, serve the two refineries, as well as other customers who ship animal feed, steel and lumber by rail, Melonas said.
Skagit County spokeswoman Bronlea Mishler said authorities are monitoring the situation. Crowd estimates of the march range from several hundred to about 1,000 people, she said.
Bud Ullman, 67, who lives on Guemes Island, participated in the march, which he described as good-spirited, peaceful.
“The scientists are right. We have to get away from our dependence on fossil fuels, and it has to be done in a way that takes into serious consideration the impact on workers, families and communities,” he said.
The three-day event ends Sunday and has included “kayaktivists” demonstrating on water, community workshops and an indigenous ceremony.
“I’m here because there’s nothing more important to me than protecting the Earth,” said Elizabeth Claydon, 24, who lives in Seattle. “This is an urgent matter, and traditional ways are not working.”
Many of the nearly 40 groups involved in organizing the event were also involved in large on-water kayak protests against Shell’s Arctic oil drilling rig when it parked last year at a Seattle port.