Butte Supervisors to Discuss Bakken Oil Shipment Concerns

Jan 12, 2015 6:36 PM by News Staff

The Butte County Board of Supervisors Tuesday will take up the issue of the rising number of rail shipments of Bakken Oil to California.

With a major percentage of those shipments expected to come through the North State's highly sensitive and picturesque Feather River Canyon, county officials are concerned what could happen in the event of a major accident.

But while the county believes it is equipped to handle most emergencies, including train derailments, a major incident involving trains carrying the highly volatile Bakken Oil would likely overwhelm local first responders, according to county officials.

In a report to county supervisors, industry estimates indicate Bakken oil shipments by rail to California to increase from about seven million barrels currently to as many as 150 million barrels a year with much of that coming through the Union Pacific rail road along the Feather River Canyon.

The Board of Supervisors is expected authorize letters to the state Office of Emergency Services and the California Public Utilities Commission's Office of Rail Safety to ask for the following support:

1. Require the safest tank cars be used for transport of light crude oil and prohibit existing non-retrofitted DOT-111 tank cars.

2. Require speed limits and other safety measures for all rail shipments consisting of 20 tank cars or more.

3. Install enhanced braking controls and sensors on all tank cars.

4. Install wheel bearing sensors on "high hazard" rail lines at additional locations to increase frequence for detecting possible wheel failures.

5 Increase the frequency of CPUC track inspecition of rail lines in "high hazard" areas.

6. Increase enforcement of proper "packaging" and placarding of oil trains.

7. Require that state agencies receiving surcharge funds for emergency response work directly with local entities, ensuring that local resource needs are met.

Tuesday's meeting begins at 9 a.m. at the Supervisor's chambers in Oroville.


Most Popular