Masters Of War

Come you masters of war You that build all the guns You that build the death planes You that build all the bombs You that hide behind walls You that hide behind desks I just want you to know I can see through your masks. You that never done nothin' But build to destroy You play with my world Like it's your little toy You put a gun in my hand And you hide from my eyes And you turn and run farther When the fast bullets fly. Like Judas of old You lie and deceive A world war can be won You want me to believe But I see through your eyes And I see through your brain Like I see through the water That runs down my drain. You fasten all the triggers For the others to fire Then you set back and watch When the death count gets higher You hide in your mansion' As young people's blood Flows out of their bodies And is buried in the mud. You've thrown the worst fear That can ever be hurled Fear to bring children Into the world For threatening my baby Unborn and unnamed You ain't worth the blood That runs in your veins. How much do I know To talk out of turn You might say that I'm young You might say I'm unlearned But there's one thing I know Though I'm younger than you That even Jesus would never Forgive what you do. Let me ask you one question Is your money that good Will it buy you forgiveness Do you think that it could I think you will find When your death takes its toll All the money you made Will never buy back your soul. And I hope that you die And your death'll come soon I will follow your casket In the pale afternoon And I'll watch while you're lowered Down to your deathbed And I'll stand over your grave 'Til I'm sure that you're dead.------- Bob Dylan 1963

Sunday, March 1, 2015

last week’s exploding oil trains and other spills

last week was an explosive week for the oil industry; in addition to three fiery train derailments in the news, an Exxon refinery in Torrance California blew up and left the city covered in a ghostly white ash...and of a less explosive nature, five spills were reported by the frackers in North Dakota, including one "double spill" which the company responsible believes was sabotage, something we might see more of as the roughnecks and rig hands think they're getting shafted by the unannounced layoffs...
a West Virginia oil train derailment & explosion on the Kanawha River in Fayette County got the most national attention, maybe because of the explosive nature of the fireball, maybe because the Governor of West Virginia declared a state of emergency in two riverside counties within hours of learning that burning oil tankcars had entered the river, the water source for much of the state….we'll include a news clip here so you can get a sense of what that looked like...
one house burned and roughly 1000 residents were evacuated from the area, and another 2000 lost water as water intakes were shut down....the derailment of 26 tankcars was of a CSX train carrying 109 cars of explosive Bakken crude to a refinery in Yorkton, Virginia, and 19 of those tank-cars became involved in the subsequent fires, which were still burning 3 days after the derailment, as neither CSX nor West Virginia had capabilities to put the fires out...the cars that exploded were the newer CPC 1232 models that are supposedly safer than the old DOT-111s, and this train was just one of dozens carrying Bakken crude that passes through Ohio cities and other Midwest communities on the way to East Coast refineries each week...luckily, no one was killed or seriously injured this time... 
another 100 car train carrying crude oil derailed and caught fire in a remote area of northern Ontario inaccessible by road early this week...29 tank-cars went off the tracks and nine were still on fire a day later when the derailment hit the news services...with below zero temperatures and no way to access the site, Canadian transportation authorities decided shut the corridor and to allow the fire to burn out before inspecting the scene, where it was reported that some of the rail cars were broken into pieces and scattered along the tracks in chest deep snow...the train had been visually inspected and went through a checkpoint that was supposed to automatically detect problems 20 miles before the trouble occurred, and the track had been visually inspected and cleared by a rail flaw detector in the week before the derailment...
earlier, a Canadian Pacific train carrying ethanol derailed on a river bank near Dubuque Iowa, and fifteen tankcars left the track, three of which erupted into flames and three of which rolled downhill, plunging into the Mississippi River...again, since local officials were unequipped to deal with a tankcar fire on an inaccessible hillside, they let the fire burn itself out before the Iowa DNR moved in to test the water for contamination...later assessment revealed that 8 of the old outdated DOT-111 single hulled tankers had split open and leaked their ethanol, noteworthy because 70% of the US oil tanker rolling stock is still of this design, including tens of thousands hauling Bakken crude, the same kind of oil and tankcars that exploded in Lac-Megantic, Quebec in July 2013, killing 47 people...
the number of train incidents over such a short span, including an 11 car derailment of a CSX crude oil train in South Philadelphia the prior weekend, has reignited the arguments that pipelines would be a safer way to transport oil than by rail....with fracking ongoing in several states, the volume of oil that is being shipped by rail has doubled since 2012 to 16,000 rail car loads a week...but pipelines aren't immune from their own disasters; recall that as recently as the last week in January, we were discussing two major pipeline ruptures within miles of each other on upper Missouri river tributaries....one of those pipelines leaked 3 million gallons of contaminated fracking wastewater on the North Dakota tundra over a period of more than 17 days before being noticed and shut off...this debate led to an examination of the comparative data by thinkprogress, who found that while oil trains spill more often, pipelines spill more...over the eight years examined, a period that included an 800,000 gallon tar sands oil leak into the Kalamazoo River, U.S. pipelines spilled three times as much crude oil as trains....so moving oil is dirty and dangerous any way we do it; pick your poison....
on Wednesday morning, an explosion and fire destroyed the gasoline processing unit at an ExxonMobil oil refinery in Torrance, California, injuring 4 workers and damaging surrounding buildings...although not directly related to the environmental issues surrounding fracking, the incident is noteworthy because we've been following the USW strikes at 11 US refineries for the past couple weeks, including a half dozen stories on them last week, where worker safety has been a major issue...the point is that lax safety standards at US refineries is an ongoing problem; 27 workers died in such refinery explosions over the past five years...after this accident, gasoline prices rose in the Los Angeles region and 4 more refineries joined those on strike...
of the five spills that occurred in North Dakota early this week, the first pair involved over 40,000 gallons of fracking wastewater that was released from two well sites in Williams county owned by Hess Energy; both impacted a wetlands area, and the company reported it as vandalism because valves were opened on storage tanks in both cases...in the second incident, 1,260 gallons of oil overflowed from a truck and spilled into an oxbow of Charbonneau Creek, which is a a tributary of the Yellowstone River, which was hit by a 50,000 gallon pipeline rupture just 4 weeks ago; it appears the operator just kept filling the truck after it was already loaded....the third reported spill occurred after a valve was left open as a truck was offloading diesel fuel at a tank farm, and resulted in 400 gallons of said diesel fuel flowing into a tributary of Lonesome Creek...finally, Murex Petroleum reported a pump leak caused 21,000 gallons of brine to spill in Divide County, but they managed to contain it on site....
(excerpted from Focus on Fracking)

1 comment:

One Fly said...

Couldn't read much of this - too damn depressing.

It's not going to get better.