You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Editorial columns

  • Short-sighted decision shortchanges students
    Since taking office last year, one of the most exciting things I've seen in Indiana has been the growing momentum and support for early-childhood education.
  • In the best interests of Hoosier children
    Earlier this year our state made history by approving the first state-funded pre-kindergarten grant program for low-income families in Indiana.
  • Domestic violence a worldwide scourge
    Many of us have found ourselves shocked at the sight of Super Bowl champion Ray Rice punching his then fiancée, now wife, so hard in the face that she was rendered unconscious.
Advertisement

A tragic reminder of oil’s cost

The tragic loss of lives in a Canadian border town to a fireball of burning crude oil is sure to ramp up debate about how petroleum products should be moved.

One sure talking point is that oil is moved more safely by pipeline than rail – a lynchpin for proponents of the Keystone XL pipeline. But Saturday’s accident should renew focus on just how safe those long black oil tankers are in a crash.

Pipeline spills resulted in average releases of more than 19,000 gallons per incident between 2005 and 2009. Tank cars averaged just less than 1,700.

Since October 2011, the Association of American Railroads has required tanker makers to make new cars with heavier steel, protective shields and better covers over fittings.

But the industry has rejected as too costly calls to retrofit tens of thousands of older tankers.

Crude oil isn’t going to stop riding the rails to refineries. Although pipelines still move the bulk of crude oil, trains are carrying 10 times more than they were just five years ago.

Oil producers, railroads and refiners are all hurrying to add terminals and expand tanker fleets to catch all the crude oil running out of the Great Plains. Some analysts speculate that even if Keystone is never approved, rail eventually will be able to carry all the shale and tar sands crude the region can produce.

If that’s the case, people living along the lines can only hope the tankers running through their towns meet the highest standards.

Advertisement