The debate over cross-border pipelines has prompted more manufacturers to use the train to transport oil and natural gas to the United States, but the U.S. Rail safety experts fear that their country is not good enough to avoid potential accidents.
According to them, Americans need to be truly aware of the dangers associated with the transportation of petroleum products by a catastrophe comparable to the Lock-McGandic disaster of 2013. The U.S. Department of the Environment estimates that an average of more than a million barrels of crude oil pass through Washington State each week, a small portion of which comes from Alberta and Saskatchewan. ‘Seven tank cars caught fire outside the city of Bellingham with 90,000 people in Washington state, a reminder of the dangers of rail traffic
“In my opinion, there must be many deaths before they can catch the attention of professionally qualified regulators,” said Eric de Blaise, energy policy expert and director at the Seattle-based think tank Sideline Institute.
In July 2013, an oily train derailed and exploded in the Lock-McCandy center, killing 47 people and destroying half of the city. It was the worst freight train crash in Canadian history. The tragedy focused on the transportation of oil by rail in Canada, resulting in a number of regulatory changes, including the phase out of the Dot-111 or DC-111 tank cars and the ban on hiring an individual to operate a train.
In the United States, the new rules, which came into force in 2016, do not prohibit the use of DOT-111 cars for flammable materials, says Fred Miller, an independent researcher with the Department of Railways in Alexandria, W.C.
A report from the Bureau of Transportation said DOT-111s stopped carrying crude oil in 2018, but these cars still carry flammable liquids, and they will not disappear until 2029. In 2019, according to that report, 73% of the car fleet in the Navy – tanks carrying crude oil to the United States include DOT-117, a heavy tank car with strong valves and reinforced armor.
“More than 99.99% of all hazardous goods carried by rail reach their destination without accident-induced leakage,” says Jessica Kahanek of the American Railroad Association.
While in service after the Lock-McCandy crash, Mr Miller underscored that the DOT-117s were “somewhat safer” than their predecessors, he said, adding that Congress had always refused to impose limits on length or train speed, or that the danger was items that had to be diverted from the hubs.
“The problem with railcar safety is that there is a transfer between the weight of the car and the amount of product that can be carried. There is a conflict between security and profit, he says. If we put more steel to protect ourselves from punctures, that means we should use less production. “
Canada’s oil and natural gas exports are highly dependent on commodity prices. Crude exports by rail fell as oil prices plummeted amid a COVID-19 epidemic last summer.
But these exports are growing slowly: in December 2020 Canada exported more than 190,000 barrels a day, more than double the amount released four months ago, according to federal data.
Environmentalists have long opposed DC Energy’s pipeline projects, such as Keystone XL and Enbridge’s Line 3 and Line 5, for fear of over-exploiting and relying on Alberta’s oil sands. North America for fossil fuels.
US President Joe Biden canceled the keystone XL extension on the first day it was canceled. For his part, Michigan Governor Gretchen Witmer wants to close Line 5, which connects Wisconsin and Sarnia in Ontario, via the Mackinac Strait between Lake Michigan and Huron.
Canadian Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O’Reilly has pledged to protect the 5th line, which is a key energy and job in Michigan and Ohio, as well as in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec.
This evidence will come to market in any form, including low credibility, O’Reilly told the House of Commons Special Committee on Economic Relations between Canada and the United States.