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Time to call them Obama trains

There was another oil train derailment this week – this time near Galena, Illinois –  producing another explosion and smoke cloud that’s being plastered all over the media.

It was the third such derailment in three weeks.

Left-wing activists have taken to using the term “bomb trains” and are now blaming public officials for not seeking regulatory retribution for the derailments from the oil industry. Which is certainly convenient, for them, I suppose.

They think the answer to oil train derailments is to stop producing oil.

But really, it’s President Barack Obama who has created this situation for them to exploit. Not so much because the administration has balked at tougher regulations for oil-by-rail shipments, as Reuters reported recently, but because Obama’s intransigence on energy infrastructure has created a shipping bottleneck that has left our rails overrun.

As oil production has boomed in America, so has oil by rail shipments as this graph from the American Association of Railroads Shows:

graphic

The reason for this is that pipeline infrastructure wasn’t in place to take oil from plays like North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields and bring it to market. So, while we’ve been waiting for the pipelines to catch up, oil producers have relied on rail.

But it’s clear that our rail infrastructure wasn’t ready for this explosion (sorry, bad word) in oil shipments. We badly need alternatives, but that’s where the environmental zealots come in. Led by our zealot-in-chief Barack Obama they’re intent on ensuring that pipeline infrastructure can’t catch up.

It’s not just Obama’s intransigence on the Keystone XL pipeline. While the 100,000 barrels per day of capacity that pipeline would be important infrastructure for the North Dakota oil fields, it’s not a silver bullet that would solve this problem.

But the blockade on Keystone is symbolic of the larger fight over pipelines.

The Sandpiper line, which would run from Tioga, North Dakota, through Minnesota down to Wisconsin is currently being blocked by activists in Minnesota. A pipeline taking oil from the Bakken north into Canada will likely face the same obstacles from the federal government that the Keystone pipeline has.

The activists don’t want pipelines, but they also gleefully report every new oil train derailment, leveraging them into calls for action on further restrictions to oil production.

Which is really their goal. Choking off oil production. They don’t want pipelines, and that means more oil trains on our creaking rail infrastructure.

Every time an oil train derails and explodes we ought to be pointing our fingers at President Barack Obama and others who have created this infrastructure bottleneck in the first place.

96 comments

  1. thats why we need the pipelines

  2. No one is stopping pipelines !! You just can’t cross the international border !!

  3. Wasn’t there just another pipeline leak too?

  4. Bill, you can’t explain this to the people that don’t want to hear it. We need the Keystone XL like we need a hole in the head, but because Obama won’t just green light it, he is the cause of no American oil company building infrastructure to get their product to market safely.

  5. Let’s face it: this crude oil is dangerous, however we ship it. We need to use less oil, using as much wind and sun as possible.

    • So my family can starve……along with the millions of other oilfield workers in the US…..please go have a CT scan to make sure you still have a brain in your head

    • Your lack of courtesy, Travis, isn’t productive. I think it’s possible to provide subsidies for alternative energy jobs to take the place of those in the fossil fuel industry. Don’t think me unsympathetic about the job issue: my son lost his job in 2008, and he hasn’t found another. He struggles to make a living as a musician, but it isn’t enough. So, I don’t need a CT scan, but I do hope for intelligent, well informed discussion of this important issue.

    • You’re right about 1 thing, if you don’t want so much oil shipped use less that’s just not where we’re at for the moment.

    • I agree with Brenda, and I work in the oil and gas industry. Even if we don’t make policy changes to encourage renewables, eventually we’ll have to develop better technology to extract oil from increasingly difficult targets, which means oil prices will rise, and as gas prices increase people will be more interested in other solutions. One way or the other we will be switching eventually. The question is how long that will be, and whether we’d like to jump or be pushed.

      Frankly, Travis, if your family starves because we use less oil, that’s on your lack of job skills and creativity in finding work. If you think about it, as we go with more renewables more jobs will open up in that sector. Instead of roughnecks we’ll need people to build windmills and solar farms. Instead of petroleum geologists we’ll need scientists who can work with hydroelectric or geothermal. It means re-tooling, not starving.

    • And the sun is going to power your cute little Prius and produce everything you use everyday…. how cute

    • Ride the solar power plug it in lady’s

    • love it, yes we need to work on renewable type fuels, yet as we seen first hand, the present duffus gave millions in stimulation tax dollars to his buddies who were saving the world with renewable and within a couple weeks they closed the doors and retired in style, If something can be invented that actually is cost efficient, wind is not, only about 46% efficient and most of that is spent on repairs, solar, if you can balance the size of conductor with the daily changes in sun light, OK, that is a issue, the issue with our bakken crude, it is very close to a finished product and has gas content, which shippers are working to reduce the gas content before loading, NOW the rail systems are old, we are shipping about 4000% more cars by rail than we were 8 years ago, the rails need to be rebuilt, as do our tank cars, Honestly there is no product which can produce so much from so little as OIL, No if Travis has a starving family due to no work, as in 1986 when the oil industry died, you could not beg a job, no one had money, no one was hiring anyone, SO where do you go then, retrain, tried that program, it was as all government programs, only for the select few, all regulations and policy, after weeks of doing all the paper work, the program had no money,

    • Chuck, you switch industries. Even in 1986 there were jobs to be had, they just weren’t in oil. Hundreds of petroleum geologists were retrained in an 8-week crash course in hydrogeology and are now at retirement age, and have made decent livings as hydrogeologists. They didn’t starve, they re-tooled. It wasn’t the 1930s, jobs were available.

    • Michael, no one said that. But why is it such a bad thing to diversify our energy sources?

    • Only the market should decide. The subsidies have only served to waste tax payer money and drive up the cost of food. There is not enough room for solar panels to replace our coal fired plants. All of those electric cars have to be charged some how. Welcome to the age of rolling brownouts and blackouts.

    • Brenda you ignore that the only thing solar and wind can produce is electricity and there are so many thing electricity can not power. And electricity can not be made into any materail-

    • I’m not suggesting exclusive reliance on alternative energy sources; that wouldn’t be realistic. But certainly we can rely MORE on sun and wind, as evident from what’s happening in some European countries. Neither solar nor wind is perfect, nor do they serve all our needs, but solar technology is improving rapidly.

    • Tim a good indicator of a moron is a person with a closed mind–moron

    • Also with the batteries on electric cars have to be disposed of…that’s not productive at all.

    • Thad Daly sometimes people don’t know as much as they think and I think she fits the bill. 😉

    • All these speaking for renewable such as Beth forget that wind can’t do this…

    • Amazing… the level of incompetence.

    • Five dollars goes to the person who can tell the class why Crude is dangerous? Betcha none of you can even the one claiming it is, only that it is, but not why… But hey guess what, number one ingredient in the chemicals used to make solar panels are… CRUDE OIL….

  6. Do your research on why Obama and Warren Buffett don’t want the pipeline. Might find some interesting stuff.

    • Because it will layoff thousands upon thousands of America oil workers while lining the pockets of the Koch brothers who own most of the Canadian oil shale rights. That is interesting.

    • Or the fact that those two will lose billions off of the railroad that would no longer be hauling it.

    • Actually if they pass the bill new construction jobs will be created. It will also ease the shipment of the oil to the refineries on the gulf coast that have already upgraded their facilities to process the oil, and cut prices at the pump. No mater how you cut it someone’s is gonna get rich off anything you do in the oil business. But I’d rather let new jobs come into America and maybe help our unemployment rate out.

    • The only way KOCH Industries profits is if they can push this toxic bitumen slurry through the US liability free. KXL is exempt from 24 million in tax liability, they do not have to pay those fees, are of the hook for clean-up.

      If they have to make it an
      All Canada solution…they will not double their net worth to 180 Billion dollars. Any wonder why they have every senator in their pocket? Minimum of 250,000$ to each Senator voting for KXL. In the case of ND Senator Hoeven, he received an additional 25,000$
      Bought and paid for votes.

    • The KXL pipeline will create, at most, 35 permanent jobs. The jobs argument makes no sense.

    • The entire train instead of K-XL scenarios is bogu–BS- scare tatctic
      THINK- through put 840,000 bpd every day- a tank car 750 bbls that is 1,200 tank car a day- every day an 18 mile of tank cars-
      The trains are not carrying crude to export but to northern tier refineries for domestic use– Note where the train wrecks are occuring-

    • Makes sense to take away thousands of jobs to create 35 permanent ones. .. not, kxl is a joke, keep the pipelines coming within our own country though.

    • No one here mentioned that BNSF is owned by Warren Buffet. That’s why Obama is against the pipeline

    • Red try reading comments before commenting– go up 4

  7. Toot toot! Keep them obama trains rollin’! No sense in transporting flammables in a pipeline…..

  8. Trains derail, pipelines leak, trucks wreck and planes crash, as long as you move people and products in large volumes you will have accidents. The keystone pipeline won’t solve the worlds problems, I’m not against keystone other than the fact it will mainly serve Canada’s interest more than anyone else’s, go try to work in their country and see how welcome you are. Clean up the messes and move on.

  9. The Keystone “might” carry up to 130,000 bbls of Bakken crude per day. A drop in the bucket. What about the “Bakken Crude Express” pipeline and the “Dakota Express” pipeline proposals that died on the vine due to oil industry indifference, and the deceased Enterprise Products Partners pipeline project which would have run from the Bakken to Cushing, OK? The pipelines would have had “real” capacity. I must have missed dropout Port’s outrage, when the Bakken oil producers derailed these pipeline projects.

  10. Maybe an infrastructure bill could include oil rails. An infrastructure bill that could put hundreds of thousands of Americans to work repairing America. A plan that’s been talked about by democrats and failed in the senate in 2011. Maybe if we could work together and actually have discussions instead of tantrums, we could get work done.

  11. Leon Descher yeah cuz Warren buffet would lose billions

    • The entire train instead of K-XL scenarios is bogus–BS- scare tatctic THINK- through put 840,000 bpd every day- a tank car 750 bbls that is 1,200 tank car a day- every day an 18 mile of tank cars- The trains are not carrying crude to export but to northern tier refineries for domestic use– Note where the train wrecks are occuring-

  12. Keystone won’t help. Less than 10 percent of the daily output of the bakken would enter that pipeline. A better solution is to build pipelines exclusively for bakken crude, or build refineries closer to the source.

  13. You guys do realize that while this veto on the keystone pipeline was happening in the media, they built an even bigger pipeline? It didn’t hit the media at all. We have over 40 pipelines that cross our borders. So don’t play into this media game . They only want you to look in the other direction and pretend to the masses that the government is doing something to show it cares.

    http://washingtonspectator.org/2nd-canadian-company-completing-tar-sands-pipeline-u-s/

    http://www.newsweek.com/2014/12/05/all-eyes-keystone-another-tar-sands-pipeline-just-crossed-border-286685.html

  14. Do you want to know why it is shipped by rail??? Cause Warren Buffett bought a RR company. Word!!! Might not be his RR company that derailed but I am sure that the whites and politics play in the rail system of oil shipments!!!!

    • The entire train instead of K-XL scenarios is bogus–BS- scare tatctic THINK- through put 840,000 bpd every day- a tank car 750 bbls that is 1,200 tank car a day- every day an 18 mile of tank cars- The trains are not carrying crude to export but to northern tier refineries for domestic use– Note where the train wrecks are occuring-

  15. If I hear one more idiot that says Obama is a horrible person because he won’t allow for the keystone XL to be built resulting in poor transportation of Bakken oil I’m going to puke!!!! The XL would carry Canadian oil more efficiently PERIOD to . Cushing, Oklahoma oil containment facility which is currently 91% full. This is a big reason why oil prices are so low and Americas oil worker are being laid off. If we build the pipeline you are in support of Canadian oil and not American oil. The is one call Obama is absolutely right about.

  16. Build a pipeline that runs directly to a refinery and I’ll bet Obama would sign that into law so fast it would make your head spin!

  17. And this variation … O’Bomb-em trains

  18. I agree with Kevin besides the oil isn’t wrecking the trains BNSF best be looking at their tracks an do some work take some of that oil money an do some good with it

  19. this has nothng to do with the environmental zealots; follow the money, Obama’s largest contributor, Warren Buffett, owns the BNSF & half the rolling stock west of the Mississippi

  20. The science is sound. deviate from the rules, and pay a price…

  21. May-be some of these tracks need repair! They need not put the rape on the Bakken!

  22. Can we get the Keystone already please!

  23. And the idiot liberals will continue to say that a pipeline is not an environmentally friendly or efficient way to transport oil and gas. Rail and tanker trucks are not a safer method.

  24. Wind and sun don’t produce enough energy. We need the pipeline to transport safely until alternative will work.

  25. And you thought that pipelines were the problem….

  26. Calling this problem President Obama’s fault is absurd.

  27. No keystone we need and American pipeline that is built by Americans, keystone can pay us for shipment, and it is funny how explosions only happen when the keystone is on topic. We want American oil independence but fight for foreign business on our land haven’t we sold out long enough?

  28. cant drive my car or harley on wind or sun brenda!

  29. Many Gulf Coast refineries spent hundreds-of millions of dollars to convert their refineries to process Canadian heavy crude. They did this prior to the Bakken when it looked like our only choices for oil in the future were Canada, Russia, Venezuela, or the Middle East. I for one would rather trade with a friendly country, but this president has done everything in his power to sour this relationship with our strongest ally. Totally disgusting and corrupt. If the refineries have to convert to process a different type of crude it will cost hundreds-of millions more which will be paid by US consumers.

    • Sorry Mark but you got it back-ass-ward, The Tx/La coastal refineries have been processing heavy crude since the ’50.
      Now with the increase in light crude they are making upgrades so they can handle any crude. Simple- can’t sell or export unless refined-

  30. Thank God Warren Buffett don’t donate much money to Obama

  31. Gary Eichelberger

    Why are you showing us a chart from 2004? (Every year is estimated). Oil industry, don’t get all pissy pants now that you’ve pulled all this crap out of the ground and have no place to put it. You could have invested in solar and wind, BUT NOOOOOO!!!! Guess its time to help Mr. Buffett upgrade his choo choo trains.

  32. Call every senator that voted no, and get keystone XL built!!!!

  33. If these trains were passenger trains presumably ‘something would be done’ to stop all these derailments? What is the cause? From an observer from outside the US it sounds like you have a very dodgy rail system…..and that’s nothing to do with pipeline politics….just a dodgy rail system that needs fixing?

  34. Screw that!! Time to push for that KEYSTONE PIPELINE TO BE BUILT and stop rail car hauling it!!

  35. Hmm why does this keep happening? Are this many derailments normal? If so “jacketed” tankers must be mandated! Update 3/6/15 11:30 AM PST: BNSF spokesman Mike Trevino has confirmed to Mother Jones that the train was traveling from North Dakota, and the AP is reporting its tankers were carrying Bakken crude. Trevino said the cars were the CPC-1232 model (newer than the notorious DOT-111 that has raised concern amongst lawmakers), but were nonetheless “unjacketed.” Kristen Boyles, an attorney with environmental advocacy group Earthjustice, told Mother Jones that “unjacketed” tankers do not have the insulated steel shells that US regulators have proposed mandating for new cars to prevent puncturing after derailment. “This derailment is yet another indication that these trains are not good enough and we’ve got to get federal standards greatly strengthened,” Boyles said. The White House’s Office of Management and Budget says it will finalize the DOT’s proposed rules in May.

  36. To the sheep that say “Build our own pipelines” “Build our own refineries” . There would be if those permits wouldn’t get blocked at every agency the president has his thumb on. No, Mr Buffet wouldnt like that so the permits will keep getting rejected. And more wind and more solar? Yeah, that’s worked well hasn’t it. More tax paid dollars down the drain to the big contributors and lobbyists.

  37. White House. Not sure why the house didn’t post

  38. It would take more than just one pipeline to cut down rail-use but Obama should not have any say in the pipeline, obviously we are under a rath.

  39. Oil companies have neglected infrastructure for 50 years now, closed down refineries so they could inflate the price of diesel fuel, gas. They don’t even have capacity to refine sweet crude from Bakken. The biggest foreign investors in Canadian Tar Sands is the KOCH BROTHERS, they own leases over 1 million acres the size of Deleware!! Call them what they are KOCH trains, pipelines, and refineries!!

  40. Spot on. Obama is what every urban dwelling hypocrite is pretending to be engaged in the real battle for human survival. It is a sickening feeling knowing urban environmentalists, do not grow their own food, provide their own transportation, nor heat their own homes. How they come to believe that the best way to make change is to vilify the people and businesses that provide food, shelter, transportation, to their existence is criminal. they don’t look for solutions. They look for scapegoats for their own shortcomings when it is reveals they are not masters of their domain. They do not provide the food that sustains their existence. Their mobility is derived from fuels that they deride as toxic, yet they do not ride a horse as their recent 19 century descendants travelled. The heat for their homes is not cut and stacked form the local forest. The infrastructure that they drive their automobiles is not provided by their generous charitable contributions to the betterment of their fellow man. The clothes in their closet. The schools their children attend. I say as all fellow inhabitants ask, offer solutions,otherwise be quiet as real life decisions will be made because of your inability to fend for yourself.

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