Those mundane but endless black tanker cars rumbling through cities and suburbs alike are cloaking a volatile offender: crude oil.
In this post we'll explore the transport of the dangerous fuel behind some recent hazmat spills and how it affects railroad worker safety.
This month an executive from the Ohio Oil and Natural Gas Association was quoted in an Ohio paper saying that the oil shipped through towns and cities all over the US is “ very volatile” and “basically liquified natural gas."
The official went onto say, “It is still classified as crude oil, even thought it is a lot closer to gasoline.”
This is true for Bakken crude, coming out of the Bakken Oil shale in North Dakota, which regulators have concluded is more flammable than regular crude.
Technically classified as crude oil, and thus handled according to a certain set of federal safety guidelines overseen by Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, crude by rail (CBR) has picked up speed. For example in eastern Ohio alone, CBR shipments are up over 23%. But with tanker car derailments, like last year's accident in Alabama, getting more attention, public concern is starting to rise as well.