Repost from the Seattle Times [Editor: The press is full of revealing information taken from the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) analyzing the proposed Tesoro Savage Vancouver Energy Project. The document was released yesterday. Several media links are provided below. – RS]
28 more oil trains across state each week if big terminal built, study says
By Hal Bernton, November 24, 2015, Updated 11/25/15 9:25 am
A major oil terminal proposed for Vancouver, Wash., would bring an additional 28 oil trains per week across the state and launch a new era of oil-tanker traffic down the Columbia River, according to a draft state study released Tuesday.
…but concerns about the risks of oil-train derailments … the study noted that trains also may deliver bitumen — a heavier crude … [FULL STORY]
Pipeline that spilled oil on California coast badly corroded
By Michael R. Blood and Brian Melley, Associated Press, Wednesday, June 3, 2015 10:50 pm
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A pipeline rupture that spilled an estimated 101,000 gallons of crude oil near Santa Barbara last month occurred along a badly corroded section that had worn away to a fraction of an inch in thickness, federal regulators disclosed Wednesday.
The preliminary findings released by the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration point to a possible cause of the May 19 spill that blackened popular beaches and created a 9-mile slick in the Pacific Ocean.
The agency said investigators found corrosion at the break site had degraded the pipe wall thickness to 1/16 of an inch, and that there was a 6-inch opening near the bottom of the pipe. Additionally, the report noted that the area that failed was close to three repairs made because of corrosion found in 2012 inspections.
The findings indicate 82 percent of the metal pipe wall had worn away.
“There is pipe that can survive 80 percent wall loss,” said Richard Kuprewicz, president of Accufacts Inc., which investigates pipeline incidents. “When you’re over 80 percent, there isn’t room for error at that level.”
The morning of the spill, operators in the company’s Houston control center detected mechanical issues and shut down pumps on the line. The pumps were restarted about 20 minutes later and then failed, prompting another shutdown of the line.
Restarting the pumps could have led to a rupture, or a break in the line could have caused the pumps to fail, but Kuprewicz cautioned it’s still too soon to determine what caused the failure.
In either case, a hole that size would have leaked at a high rate — even with the pumps off — and may not have been quickly detected by remote operators.
The agency documents said findings by metallurgists who examined the pipe wall thickness at the break site conflicted with the results of inspections conducted May 5 for operator Plains All American Pipeline. Those inspections pinpointed a 45 percent loss of wall thickness in the area of the pipe break, meaning they concluded the pipe was in far better condition.
Government inspectors “noted general external corrosion of the pipe body during field examination of the failed pipe segment,” the report said.
Investigators found “this thinning of the pipe wall is greater than the 45 percent metal loss which was indicated” by the recent Plains All American inspections.
The agency ordered the company to conduct additional research and possible repairs on the line, which has been shut down indefinitely.
Plains All American said in a regulatory filing that there is no timeline to restart the line, which runs along the coast north of Santa Barbara. A company spokeswoman said there’s no estimate yet of the cost of cleanup, which involves nearly 1,200 people.
The agency also ordered restrictions on a second stretch of pipeline, which the company had shut down May 19, restarted, then shut down again on Saturday.
That second line had similar insulation and welds to the line that spilled oil last month. It cannot be started until the company completes a series of steps, including testing.
The company said in a statement that it is committed to working with federal investigators “to understand the differences between these preliminary findings, to determine why the corrosion developed and to determine the cause of the incident.”
Plains said it won’t know the cause until the investigation, including the metallurgical analysis, is concluded.
The company has come under fire from California’s U.S. senators, who issued a statement last week calling the response to the spill insufficient and demanding the pipeline company explain what it did, and when, after firefighters discovered the leak from the company’s underground 24-inch pipe.
A commercial fisherman sued Plains in federal court Monday, alleging the environmental disaster would cause decades of harm to the shore. He is seeking class-action status and damages for business owners who have lost money because of the spill.
As of Tuesday, 36 sea lions, 9 dolphins and 87 birds in the area have died, officials said. Another 32 sea lions, 6 elephant seals and 58 birds were rescued and were being treated.
Popular state beaches and campgrounds polluted by the spill are closed until at least June 18.
Plains All American and its subsidiaries operate 17,800 miles of crude oil and natural gas pipelines across the country, according to federal regulators
The spill is also being investigated by federal, state and local prosecutors for possible violations of law.
‘There’s still definitely a lot of concerns long-term from the people of the community’
Apr 10, 2015 7:00 AM ET
It’s been just over a month since a train carrying crude oil derailed near Gogama sparking a massive environmental clean up.
CN Rail said remediation crews have now removed all the ice for an approximately 400 meter stretch up and downstream of the rail bridge where the train carrying crude oil from Alberta left the tracks on March 7, causing the fire and spill.
The company has not said how much oil leaked out of rail cars in the wreck, but Gerry Talbot said it’s a significant amount.
“So far there has been 926,000 litres of oil and water mixture type of thing that has been collected,” said Talbot, the secretary of the local services board in Gogama.
CN said large ice booms have also been installed on the river to prevent the uncontrolled flow of ice through the remediation site during the spring thaw.
Testing so far has not shown any contamination of ground water, the company said, and monitoring continues.
Concerns for tourism
While it’s good news, Talbot said some in the community are still worried about what the oil spill will do to property values, and whether tourists will still flock to local lodges for the summer fishing season.
“People may not be calling the local tourism lodges to book rooms or to book a trailer site. Is it because of the oil? Well, you probably won’t know because they are not calling,” he said.
“There’s still definitely a lot of concerns long-term from the people of the community, and rightly so.”
CN is also asking local fishermen to drop off specimens at the Gogama Community Centre so it can continue to test for the presence of any oil products in the fish.
The company said there is no estimate on how long it will take to complete the environmental remediation of the area.
Tribal leaders, commissioner warn of oil train dangers
November 25, 2014
Increased oil train traffic on Washington’s aging rail system puts the state’s people and ecosystems at risk, according to an opinion piece by 10 tribal leaders and the Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, published Thursday in the Seattle Times.
“Crude By Rail: Too Much, Too Soon” calls for federal regulators to improve safety protocols and equipment standards on Washington rail lines to deal with a 40-fold increase in oil train traffic since 2008. Trains carrying crude oil are highly combustible and, if derailed, present serious threats to public safety and environmental health, according Goldmark.
Herman Williams Sr., chairman of the Tulalip Tribes; Tim Ballew II, chairman of the Lummi Nation; Jim Boyd, chairman of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation; Brian “Spee~Pots” Cladoosby, chairman of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community; and other tribes, joined Commissioner Goldmark in urging policymakers to address critical issues around the increase of oil train traffic through the state.
“The Northwest has suffered from a pollution-based economy,” said Cladoosby in a statement. “We are the first peoples of this great region, and it is our responsibility to ensure that our ancestral fishing, hunting and gathering grounds are not reduced to a glorified highway for industry. Our great teacher, Billy Frank, Jr., taught us that we are the voices of the Salish Sea and salmon, and we must speak to protect them. If we cannot restore the health of the region from past and present pollution, how can we possibly think we can restore and pay for the impact of this new and unknown resource?
“We are invested in a healthy economy, but not an economy that will destroy our way of life. We will not profit from this new industry, but rather, we as citizens of the Northwest will pay, one way or another, for the mess it will leave behind in our backyard. We will stand with Commissioner Goldmark and our fellow citizens and do what we need so those who call this great state home will live a healthy, safe and prosperous life,” said Cladoosby.
For Tulalip chairman Herman Williams, Sr., endangerment of fish runs by oil train pollution is a key concern.
“For generations we have witnessed the destruction of our way of life, our fishing areas, and the resources we hold dear,” said Williams in a statement. “The Boldt decision very clearly interpreted the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott to reserve 50 percent of the salmon and management to the tribes. The federal government must now partner with tribes to protect the 50 percent of what remains of our fishing rights. The Tulalip Tribes will not allow our children’s future to be taken away for a dollar today. Our treaty rights are not for sale,” said Williams.
According to Commissioner Goldmark, tribal leadership on the oil train issue is essential.
“Tribal leaders bring unique perspective and concern about threats to our treasured landscapes,” said Goldmark. “It’s an honor to join them in this important message about the growth of oil train traffic in our state and the threat it poses to public safety, environmental sustainability, and our quality of life.”