Bought By Oil – North Dakota Republicans Kill Train Safety Inspections Because ‘Accidents Are Gonna Happen’

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Derailed trains

At a certain point in time, Republicans are going to have to admit that they have absolutely no purpose. It’s not to fix the economy and it’s certainly not to help the American people.

It’s not just Washington Republicans who do nothing, it also happens in middle America where in North Dakota, the Republican-controlled state House killed a bill that would allow for rail and train safety. Why? Well, they’re taking a page from the NRA playbook and saying, “accidents are gonna happen.”

The train safety program was removed from the Public Service Commission budget by the House Appropriations Committee.

“Would this guarantee any more safety? We would hope it would, but it wouldn’t. Accidents are gonna happen. It’s unfortunate,” Republican state Rep. Jeff Delzer said, noted the Bismarck Tribune.

Democrat state Rep. Kenton Onstad countered, “That’s like saying, ‘Why should we have highway patrolmen ‘cuz there’s still going to be accidents out on the highway.’”

Source: Opposing Views

It would have cost $972,000 to fund two rail safety inspectors and a rail safety manager. Almost a million dollars might sound like a lot of money for one of the tiniest states in the union, but North Dakota is also the richest state in the union.

Even while the rest of the country was struggling under the Bush recession, North Dakota flourished and that’s because it is second only to Alaska in oil production.

Guess how that oil is transported. You got it, trains.

U.S. railroads have seen the number of cars filled with petroleum products jump 44 percent in the past year. A large share of that traffic starts in North Dakota, where more oil is being transported by rail than by pipeline. That might be expected until more pipelines can be built. More surprising is that shipping by rail, which is costlier than pipeline transport and raises new environmental concerns, may become a fixture of the industry and not just a temporary fix, analysts say.

Source: National Geographic

Not coincidentally, oil train accidents are on the rise. So, why in the world, other than “meh, s*** happens” would Republicans be against oil train safety? Because it slows down the process and slows down the profits for big oil.

In the race for profits and energy independence, critics say producers took shortcuts to get the oil to market as quickly as possible without weighing the hazards of train shipments. Today about two-thirds of the production in North Dakota’s Bakken shale oil field rides on rails because of a shortage of pipelines. And more than 10 percent of the nation’s total oil production is shipped by rail. Since March there have been no fewer than 10 large crude spills in the United States and Canada because of rail accidents. The number of gallons spilled in the United States last year, federal records show, far outpaced the total amount spilled by railroads from 1975 to 2012.

Source: New York Times

Not surprisingly, Jeff Delzer and many other North Dakota Republicans see the majority of their campaign funding from oil, natural gas and mining – all industries that rely on quick, hassle-free (inspection-free) rail service.

I wonder who will be paying for their next train oil spill?


Reprinted with permission from Addicting Info


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