Seriously, if Mother Jones is starting to wake up (emphasis on "starting") how long to get Obama on board? You telling me that a pipeline is worse than rail cars full of oil exploding?
Early on the morning of July 6, 2013, a runaway freight train derailed in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, setting off a series of massive explosions and inundating the town in flaming oil. The inferno destroyed the downtown area; 47 people died.
The 72-car train had been carrying nearly 2 million gallons of crude oil from North Dakota's Bakken fields. While the recent surge in domestic oil production has raised concerns about fracking, less attention has been paid to the billions of gallons of petroleum crisscrossing the country in "virtual pipelines" running through neighborhoods and alongside waterways. Most of this oil is being shipped in what's been called "the Ford Pinto of rail cars"—a tank car whose safety flaws have been known for more than two decades.
Not waiting for a final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, oil companies are also building rail terminals in Canada's tar sands region. The Association of American Railroads says that the vast majority of rail shipments arrive without incident. But more oil on the rails has also meant more spills. Trains leaked more crude in 2013 than all years since 1971 combined. (These figures don't include the Lac-Mégantic disaster, in which 1.6 million gallons of oil spilled.)
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