Residents of Richmond, VA Warn of Bakken Crude Oil Dangers

According to the website, the entire city of Richmond, Virginia is in danger if a train carrying Bakken crude oil derails and explodes.

This is a major concern for several Virginia-based environmental groups that have gotten the city council into a dispute with the Bar Area Air Quality management District, and Kinder Morgan, which is the operator of a local crude/railway transfer station.

The city council passed a resolution this week to review and possibly revoke the Kinder Morgan permit. That company is the 5th biggest energy company in the US, and revoking the permit would no longer allow them to take in crude oil by rail.

The argument against Bakken crude is that the North Dakota oil ignites and explodes faster than other crudes. Oil by rail transportation has increased by 400% since 2011, and more crude oil by rail spilled in 2013 than in the previous 40 years combined.

Some experts say that there is a six in 10 chance that there will be an oil train derailment between San Jose CA and Richmond VA in the next 30 years. The concern is that the train runs through many urbanized areas and there could be a serious risk of injury and death.

Railroad and oil company experts say that the oil tanker cars are being upgraded every year and there is less chance of a catastrophic derailment, and this risk will decline every year. They also say that the oil is not really more hazardous than ethanol or gasoline or other crudes; it is just the fact that there is a large quantity of it being shipped every year.

There have been oil train derailments in Virginia, such as in Lynchburg this year, where there fortunately were no injuries. Such derailments have led the US government to pass new train safety rules.

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