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Oil-by-rail exports to the US up by 900 per cent

Dot-111 car

The Globe and Mail reports, “New National Energy Board figures show that oil-by-rail exports have risen more than 900 per cent in less than two years… More than 146,000 barrels a day were exported on trains to the United States in the past three months of 2013, compared with just under 16,000 in the first three months of 2012.”

The article also notes, “The U.S. State Department’s final environmental report on the Keystone XL oil pipeline … said rail loading facilities in Western Canada are expected to hit a capacity of more than 1.1 million barrels a day by the end of this year [that’s a greater number of barrels per day than KXL would move], most of which would be in heavy oil-producing areas. When it released its report in January, the U.S. State Department estimated that about 180,000 barrels a day of Canadian crude had already been moving by rail.”

Much of the oil-by-rail exports are carried in DOT-111 cars, which make up about 80 per cent of the Canadian railway fleet.

Unifor president Jerry Dias has stated, “Unifor encourages Hunter Harrison (the chief executive of Canadian Pacific Railway) to make a formal proposal to Lisa Raitt, the federal minister of transport, for an immediate moratorium on the use of DOT-111A cars. …Better still, Harrison should be telling the oil companies that his rail line will no longer put the safety of its workers and the communities through which it operates in danger, by hauling the DOT-111A and will from this point forward refuse to accept the cars.”

The Council of Canadians has also called for an immediate moratorium on the use of DOT-111A cars.

Toronto-based organizing assistant Michael Butler has been writing about trains carrying crude oil through our communities. To read his blogs on this subject please see:

DOT-111 detecting disaster spotters guide
Getting railroaded with DOT-111 tanker trains in Toronto
Lisa Raitt and Stephen Harper Still Playing Dangerous Petro Politicking With Our Communities

In January, CTV reported, “In the wake of last year’s Lac-Megantic disaster and other recent rail tanker explosions, a new poll conducted by Ipsos Reid for CTV News found that 54 per cent of people surveyed said they have no faith in the safety of transporting flammable materials by rail. …According to the poll, an overwhelming majority of 90 per cent agree the federal government should conduct a formal review of Canada’s rail policies around transporting crude oil by rail.”

On the upcoming May 10 Defend Our Climate day of action, the Council of Canadians Hamilton chapter will be trainspotting for oil-by-rail cars in their community.