#PAGov: Who Will Promise to Prevent the Next Spilladelphia?

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In addition to unregulated coal ash basins, somebody should ask the Democratic candidates for Governor about whether freight trains carrying crude oil should be allowed to travel through big population centers. We seriously almost had an oil spill in the Schuylkill because our rail tracks suck so much.

Every Democratic candidate for Governor would be freaking out about this issue had the oil actually spilled into the river. They should still freak out!

This entry was posted in Environment, Governor.

4 Responses to #PAGov: Who Will Promise to Prevent the Next Spilladelphia?

  1. Michael Noda says:

    We have to think through the tradeoffs between pipeline and rail for carrying crude oil. They account for about the same levels of accidents and spillages, but while rail tends to have a lot of little accidents, pipelines have a few REALLY BIG accidents. The amount of oil to be dealt with in a rail accident is limited to the amount of oil on the train (which can still be large!), but pipelines just keep pumping oil onto the ground (or worse, into the fire). My preference is for rail, but with stricter minimum track condition standards, and upgrades to the tanker fleet to deal with the fact that Bakken crude is light, sweet, and more explosive when you bang on it, than heavier, sour crudes like you find in the Alberta oil sands (a problem that you can’t fix by diverting ND oil to pipelines).

    Let’s just agree pre-emptively, though, that if the state invests in track upgrades for the private freight rail companies, we will all refrain from calling it a “corporate giveaway”?

    • Jon Geeting says:

      I will totally refrain from calling it a corporate giveaway. Is freight subject to the Positive Train Control “mandate” that everybody’s way behind on?

      • Michael Noda says:

        They absolutely are. And carrying hazmats is one of the two qualifiers for whether PTC needs to be installed on a particular line (the other being carrying passengers).

  2. Gloria McVeigh says:

    Dem Candidate for Gov JOHN HANGER’s Petition —

    Demand action from Governor Corbett to prevent oil train disaster
    Governor Corbett – Take emergency action to prevent oil train disasters. Insist on safer tankers, inspect the rails, lower speed limits and make a state prevention and response plan.

    Unsafe oil trains carrying explosive North Dakota crude are rumbling through Pennsylvania’s communities. An explosive derailment in Canada devastated a town, killing more than 40 people. One derailed on a bridge over the Schuylkill River on MLK Day. Governor Corbett must take emergency actions to prevent a oil train disaster.