Ever since the tragic 2013 Lac-Mégantic, Quebec crude oil rail explosion killed 47 people I have been particularly aware of rail accidents. Or have I?
More crude oil was spilled by rail in 2013 than in the nearly four previous decades, more than 1.15 million gallons.
So maybe it's just that in 2014 they've been hard to avoid. Here are a few:
The holidays brought disaster to Casselton, North Dakota, in the form of exploding tank cars on the railroad line just outside of town. After striking another train, a BNSF train hauling 104 tank cars filled with Bakken Shale crude oil began to explode
Today was bad news for people living next to the natural gas fields nationwide. Two incidents led to injuries and environmental mayhem in Texas and West Virginia, while in Pennsylvania the Moshannon State Forest was still reeling from clean up from last Friday s well blowout. Before reading on, take a minute to help stop this madness at http://frackaction.earthworksaction.org
South of Dallas, Texas, when electrical company workers drilled into a natural gas pipeline, the area expoded into a furnace where the heat was described as unbearable 900 feet away from the explosion. The plume of flame was visible from several miles away. Initially three people were reported dead and several injured; the latest reports indicate that one person remains missing and at least seven were hospitalized.
Texans working to improve set-asides for natural gas infrastructure have been arguing for 1000-foot setbacks away from homes, schools and other buildings. The current law calls for 150-foot setbacks. The Wall Street Journal, in an aside, also points out that Cleburne, Texas, where the explosion occurred, was the site of a series of small earthquakes last year linked to natural gas drilling.
Incidents are on the rise