Oil by Rail

Lauren Krugel

CALGARY - Now that the Keystone XL pipeline has been rejected, it's not a foregone conclusion that much of the 830,000 barrels a day that would have flowed through it will move on trains instead, industry watchers say.

"I think that rail certainly will play a part, but a lot has to do what happens to the price of crude and happens to oilsands projects," said Dirk Lever, an analyst at AltaCorp. Capital.

Proponents of Keystone XL and similar proposals frequently trumpeted the benefits of moving crude by pipeline over rail — safety-wise, economically and environmentally.

Mychaylo Prystupa
Some call them bomb trains. Oil trains — loaded with explosive Canadian crude — are expected to roll into U.S. communities in “staggering" numbers, says a new study released Thursday by a Seattle sustainability think tank.
Mychaylo Prystupa

Suncor Refinery outside of Fort McMurray with the Syncrude Refinery visible in the background. Photo by Colin O'Connor, Greenpeace.

Alberta and its oil sands needs to be the focus of the Trudeau government's climate action if it is serious about helping limit dangerous planetary warming to two degrees this century, warned a national group of environmental thinkers.

Thomson Reuters
Train cars lie overturned outside of Alma, Wis. after derailing on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015. A CP train derailed Sunday in the state - federal investigators and hazardous material specialists are on their way to that scene near Watertown, Wis. (Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune/Associated Press)

A Canadian Pacific freight train carrying crude oil through Wisconsin derailed on Sunday, knocking 13 cars off the tracks, spilling oil and leading 35 homes to be evacuated, in the state's second derailment in two days.

No one was injured in the 2 p.m. incident in Watertown, about 80 kilometres west of Milwaukee, and workers stopped the leak, which company spokesman Martin Cej described as minor.

Late Sunday night, the company said 35 homes had been evacuated as a precaution, and that it had reserved hotel rooms for the families who lived in them.

Gary Mason
As Alberta’s NDP government grapples with a cratering economy while simultaneously pondering ways to help burnish the province’s tawdry environmental image, debate inside Premier Rachel Notley’s administration has been guided somewhat by an existential question: Why are we here?
Charles Mandel

A massive gas explosion this weekend has added fuel to the fire of controversy raging around TransCanada's proposed Energy East pipeline project.

Jeff Lewis and Shawn McCarthy

Scott Entz climbs a metal catwalk to show off the latest slaughterhouse technology that keeps Cargill Inc.’s kill floor humming while helping to “green” Alberta’s carbon-spewing energy sector.

Some 4,500 head of cattle are dispatched every day at the hangar-sized rendering plant about an hour’s drive south of Calgary. Just about everything that isn’t carved into steaks and roasts, from guts to the coarse hair on the animals’ tails, is incinerated in a state-of-the-art furnace that also serves as an unlikely cog in the province’s multibillion-dollar oil economy.

Eric de Place
“Everybody outside the Northwest thinks that’s where energy projects go to die.” That’s the reputation our region has earned as an increasing number of proposed coal and oil export projects have encountered ferocious opposition.
Amir Khadir

Below is a translation from the August 20 edition of the Montreal-based newspaper, Le Devoir.



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