Train Carrying Crude Oil Derails in Ontario
Canadian National Has Deployed Firefighting, Environmental Crews to Scene
A train carrying crude oil and operated by Canadian National Railway Co. derailed near the town of Timmins in northern Ontario just before midnight on Saturday, causing a fire but no reported injuries.
Canadian National’s main line shuts after crude cars derail
Canadian National Railway Co. shut its main line linking western and eastern Canada after an eastbound train carrying crude oil derailed in Ontario . The train of 100 cars, all carrying crude from Canada ’s oil-producing region of Alberta to eastern Canada , derailed just before midnight Saturday in a remote and wooded area about 30 miles north of Gogama , Ontario , spokesman Patrick Waldron said in an e-mail. About 18 freight trains a day use the line, he said. A total of 29 cars were involved in the incident and seven caught fire. The remaining 71 cars were moved from the site, Waldron said. Some oil was spilled. Shipments scheduled along the affected corridor will be delayed by at least 24 hours, the company said. Canadian oil producers have grown dependent on shipping crude by rail as pipeline capacity has become constrained. The shutdown happened as locomotive engineers and conductors walked off the job at Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd., the country’s second major rail carrier, in a move that threatens to snarl carload traffic across the country.
Feds expected to finalize oil-train rules in May
The federal Department of Transportation’s completion of rules governing the construction and use of the controversial DOT-111 tank cars for oil transport will come in May, about four months later than a Congressional mandate. It’s a matter closely watched in the Hudson Valley , where trains, each holding millions of gallons of volatile Bakken crude oil, regularly traverse populated areas, as well as close to the Hudson River and its tributaries. Explosions and deaths occurring when the thin-skinned tank cars derailed elsewhere have heightened concerns. In Newburgh , the oil trains ride on an elevated section of track looming over the city’s revived waterfront.
After the Fracking Ban, What’s Next For New York ? An Interview with Sane Energy Project
On December 17, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a ban on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in New York State . Citing the health risks associated with fracking, Cuomo said “I’ve never had anyone say to me, ‘I believe fracking is great.’ Not a single person in those communities. What I get is, ‘I have no alternative but fracking.’” His decision has widespread public support across the state according to media reports. What does the New York ban mean for the future of the national debate over fracking? Will other states follow Cuomo’s lead? DeSmogBlog discussed these and related questions with Clare Donohue, the co-founder of “Sane Energy Project,” one of the first anti-fracking grassroots organizations in New York .
Activists urge state to sell fossil fuel stocks
Comptroller’s office says it is studying risks holdings carry. With climate change activists urging that the state sell billions of dollars of investments in fossil fuel companies from the state pension fund, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is studying how investments may present risks to the fund. About a dozen activists stood in frigid weather outside DiNapoli’s State Street offices on Friday, asking the comptroller to begin selling — a concept called divesting — fossil fuel investments from the $180 billion fund that provides retirement benefits to state workers. Mark Dunlea, of the Poestenkill-based Green Education and Legal Fund, said the fund contains about $12 billion in fossil fuel investments, a figure that could not be confirmed by the comptroller’s office. “The pension fund should not be invested in companies that contribute to catastrophic climate change that has already inflicted tens of billions of dollars’ worth of damage in the state, starting with Hurricane Sandy,” said Dunlea, who is also affiliated with 350.org, a movement spearheaded by climate change activist Bill McKibben to reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases caused by fossil fuel combustion. Part of McKibben’s campaign calls for public pension systems, universities and other groups to pull investments from fossil fuels. No state system has done so at this point, and Dunlea added there are no active divestment campaigns under way at any organization in the Capital Region.
NY 19 Gibson Might Support Lifting Fracking Ban
U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson, a potential gubernatorial candidate in 2018, said he would be willing to lift the state’s fracking ban if natural gas drilling can be proven safe.
Tiny Quakes Linked to Fracking Raise Risks, Geophysicist Says
SAN JOSE , Calif. — Small earthquakes shaking Oklahoma and southern Kansas daily and linked to energy drilling are dramatically increasing the chance of bigger and dangerous quakes, federal research indicates. This once-stable region is now just as likely to see serious damaging and potentially harmful earthquakes as the highest-risk places east of the Rockies, such as New Madrid in Missouri , and Charleston in South Carolina , which had major quakes in the past two centuries.
“To some degree we’ve dodged a bullet in Oklahoma ,” William Ellsworth of the U.S. Geological Survey said after a presentation to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. But, he added, “This is not to say we expect a large earthquake tomorrow.” During Saturday’s 90-minute session on human-induced earthquakes, three quakes larger than 3.1 magnitude hit northern Oklahoma . Federal records show that since Jan. 1, Oklahoma has had nearly 200 quakes that people have felt. These quakes started to increase in 2008 and made dramatic jumps in frequency in June 2013 and again in February 2014, Ellsworth said. They are mostly in areas with energy drilling, often hydraulic fracturing, a process known as fracking.
WVa: Pooling legislation would ease development of shale gas wells
Legislation moving through the West Virginia House of Delegates seeks to allow lease integration for deep well horizontal drilling. House Bill 2688, introduced by Energy Committee chairman Delegate Woody Ireland, R-Ritchie, would allow property owners to come together and agree to allow gas companies to drill deep horizontal wells on their properties. Under current law, one holdout can prevent development and royalties for all other rights owners. Lease integration, also referred to as forced or fair pooling — depending on which side you’re on — would take care of that. It already exists for shallow Marcellus shale wells, but Ireland said this legislation would allow companies to take advantage of the abundant Utica shale, which lies deep under much of West Virginia .
“Marcellus shale, if you look at the geographic map of West Virginia , is primarily in the northwestern part of the state, which is where I’m from as a resident of Ritchie County ,” Ireland said. “You look at Ritchie, Doddridge, Harrison, Tyler, Marshall, Wetzel, that’s where you see much of the play in Marcellus. Now, if you look at Utica , it’s much more widespread across the state and encompasses much of the state except for a few counties in the Eastern Panhandle and perhaps a few of the southernmost counties.” Utica shale wells produce much more natural gas than Marcellus wells. Ireland said 1 million cubic feet per day is the average amount of gas extracted from Marcellus wells. While that may sound like a lot, Utica wells have been known to produce 8 to 10 million cubic feet and up to nearly 50 million cubic feet of natural gas. That’s one reason gas companies are growing more and more interested in drilling Utica wells across the state.