Questions safety of oil transport


The amount of U.S. crude oil being moved by railroads has increased 166 percent in the past 12 months. Last year, Tesoro completed a $50 million, 50,000-barrel-a-day rail terminal at its Anacortes refinery in Washington. More oil is on the way!


1. Will BNSF be required to purchase a safer oil tank car or retrofit all the old tank cars? Regulators have been warning for years that the DOT-111 tank car is prone to rupturing.

2. How often is the BNSF track inspected in Whatcom county and Washington state?

3. How frequently are all BNSF train cars' braking systems inspected?

4. Are there required shift rest requirement for train crews? How long does BNSF require a train crew to be on duty?

5. Are any rail companies in Washington allowed to operate trains manned with a single engineer?

6. How many of the 100 bulk-oil storage tanks at the four local refineries can withstand a level 6 earthquake?

7. What is the actual legal liability of the oil or train companies when oil gets into Puget Sound?

8. What is Bellingham's disaster plan in case of an oil train explosion? What equipment is available to protect the public?

Thomas Gilmore


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