Category Archives: Tar sands crude

From California to Alberta: we must stand against tar sands

Repost from STAND.earth
[Editor: STAND is asking for your signature on a petition.  Go here.  – R.S.]

NO MORE TAR SANDS TANKERS IN CALIFORNIA

The science is in— tar sands oil is much dirtier than conventional crude. It has an outsized climate impact, is terrible for air quality, and when it spills it’s much harder to clean up than conventional crude oil. And now Phillips 66 wants to expand its refinery to process more tar sands in the San Francisco Bay Area.

This would significantly increase the amount of oil tankers coming into the Phillips 66 refinery in the bay! In addition to its negative impacts on California,increasing tar sands production is bad for indigenous communities at the source in Alberta, and transporting it via oil tankers threatens devastating oil spills in the waters of British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon as well.

It’s important that the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, Gov. Newsom, and other key decision makers do everything they can to stop Phillips 66 from completing this expansion project.

Thanks to public pressure from people like you, in 2017 we defeated Phillip 66’s plan to build an oil train terminal in San Luis Obispo that would have also imported tar sands. Phillips 66’s marine terminal and refinery expansion is their last ditch effort to bring more dangerous and dirty tar sands to their Bay Area refinery and we need your help. Will you join us in urging Gov. Newsom and other key decision makers to reject this harmful proposal?

To BAAQMD, Contra Costa Board of Supervisors, Gov. Newsom, and other key decision makers in California:

Tar sands oil harms our air, water, climate, and indigenous communities. We respectfully urge you to reject Phillips 66’s refinery expansion that would double the number of tankers delivering to their refinery and allow them to process tar sands.

To add your voice, click here.

    Derailments raise questions about the surge in oil trains

    Repost from The Star, Toronto, Ontario

    Derailments raise questions about the surge in oil trains

    By Gillian Steward, Mon., March 11, 2019
    A train derailment is shown near Field, B.C., on Feb. 4. A Canadian Pacific freight train fell more than 60 metres from a bridge near the Alberta-British Columbia boundary in a derailment that killed three crew members. The westbound freight jumped the tracks at about 1 a.m. near Field, B.C.
    A train derailment is shown near Field, B.C., on Feb. 4. A Canadian Pacific freight train fell more than 60 metres from a bridge near the Alberta-British Columbia boundary in a derailment that killed three crew members. The westbound freight jumped the tracks at about 1 a.m. near Field, B.C. (JEFF MCINTOSH / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

    Now that so much oil is being shipped by rail from Alberta to points south and west, the sight of a crumpled freight train on the banks of the Kicking Horse River high in the Rocky Mountains has taken on a new twist.

    Normally most of that oil would be shipped by pipeline but with the Trans Mountain project and other pipeline expansions stalled or abandoned, the oil industry has taken to shipping the stuff to refineries and ports by train.

    A coalition of Indigenous and environmental groups along with the B.C. government successfully stalled the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion that would carry diluted bitumen from Alberta through B.C. But is this what they wanted? Trains loaded with oil navigating narrow mountain passes, rolling through small communities?

    Three crewmen were killed in that horrific derailment in early February when a loaded, parked, Canadian Pacific train of 112 cars started to roll down the track west of Lake Louise.

    According to the Transportation Safety Board, it barrelled along for three kilometres before 99 cars and two locomotives toppled off a curve ahead of a bridge and into or near the river.

    The only saving grace from this accident is that none of the derailed cars contained bitumen, heavy oils, or other petroleum products. If they had there would have been a toxic mess that would no doubt have cost millions of dollars to clean up.

    There have been other CP derailments since. Not as deadly as the one in the Kicking Horse Pass but enough to raise questions about the dangers of shipping oil by train instead of pipeline.

    On Feb. 28, 20 rail cars went off the tracks west of Banff. Three days later rail cars carrying diesel fuel and grain went off the tracks in Golden B.C. The next day 20 cars on a CP train derailed in Minnesota. And just this past Saturday two CP trains collided in the rail yards in Calgary forcing at least a dozen cars off the tracks.

    Again, there were no dangerous goods spilled. But I have seen trains with well over 100 oil tankers roll through Calgary. During the 2013 flood a CP train carrying petroleum products derailed on a bridge and hung precariously over the surging Bow River.

    According to the National Energy Board trains are shipping record amounts of oil. Between December 2017 and December 2018 crude oil exports by rail more than doubled to 353,789 barrels a day — add on domestic shipments and the total is even higher.

    And it isn’t about to slow down.

    Alberta Premier Rachel Notley recently announced her government will spend about $3.7 billion to lease about 4,400 new rail cars to move up to 120,000 barrels per day by 2020, with shipments starting as early as July this year.

    Apparently, trains loaded with oil rolling through B.C. isn’t what John Horgan’s government had anticipated when it vowed to use all the tools in its tool box to block the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

    Because now the B.C. government wants more regulatory control over rail shipments of heavy oil even though rail transportation falls under federal jurisdiction. And it wants to know exactly how much heavy oil is being shipped by rail in B.C.

    So far that information has only been made available to federal agencies. B.C. will argue its case before the B.C. Court of Appeal on March 18.

    It’s obvious that the B.C. government and its supporters don’t want any bitumen or heavy oils transported through B.C. This is not just about the expansion of one pipeline, it’s about stopping heavy oils, a key resource in Alberta, from being shipped anywhere by any means in B.C.

    But now the B.C. government is dealing with the law of unintended consequences.

    Holding up the Trans Mountain pipeline has led to more oil trains, and heightened the possibility that one of them could derail and spill barrels of heavy oil.

    Horgan is no doubt praying that there will be no derailment of oil cars anywhere in B.C. Because if that happens he will have a lot to answer for.

      Tar Sands Free SF Bay – Town Hall meeting Thurs Mar 7 2019, Rodeo Hills Elementary

      Repost from Sunflower Alliance

      Tar Sands Free SF Bay – Town Hall meeting Thurs Mar 7 2019, Rodeo Hills Elementary

      Feb 27, 2019

      Tar Sands Free SF Bay – Town Hall meeting Thurs Mar 7 2019, 6-8:30pm, Rodeo Hills Elementary – CLICK FOR FULL SIZE DOWNLOADABLE POSTER

      This coming Thursday, refinery corridor residents and allies are presenting a community forum on Phillips 66’s very dangerous plans to expand tar sands refining at its Rodeo facility.

      Increased use of tar sands in the P66 crude slate means vastly increased tanker traffic in the Bay, an increased risk of spills, and increased assaults on community health and our worsening climate.  This town hall is an opportunity to learn about the two linked P66 proposals—the first Environmental Impact Report drops soon—and what we can do to stop them.

      Please come out to listen, learn, and offer support to impacted community residents.

      Food and beverage provided!

      Speakers:

      • Andres Soto, Communities for a Better Environment
      • Pennie Opal Plant [and or Alison Ehara Brown], Idle No More SF Bay
      • LaDonna Williams, All Positives Possible and Fresh Air Vallejo
      • Janice Kirsch, MD, 350 Bay Area
      • Janet Pygeorge, President, Rodeo Citizens Association
      • Greg Karris, Senior Scientist, Communities for a Better Environment

      When:

      Thursday, March 7th, 6:00 – 8:30 PM

      Where:

      Rodeo Hills Elementary School
      All Purpose Room
      545 Garretson Street, Rodeo, CA 94572

      Sponsored by:

      Rodeo Citizens Association, Crockett-Rodeo United to Defend the Environment, Fresh Air Vallejo, Sunflower Alliance, 350 Bay Area, Idle No More SF Bay, Communities for a Better Environment, and Stand.earth.

      Watch Online:

      Visit facebook.com/standearth at 6:00 PM PST on Thursday, March 7th.

      RSVP:

      action@sunflower-alliance.org