About a month ago, we reported that the US Department of Transportation had issued an “emergency” order that shippers of crude oil had to properly label railcars of the stuff. This is just so we can know what’s in the railcars – it doesn’t regulate anything about, say, keeping the bomb trains away from towns and cities.
Well, apparently, even that was too much for the oil industry. The oil industry pushed back against the new regulations, and the DOT totally crumbled.
We found out a couple weeks ago that Kinder Morgan quietly converted a Richmond ethanol rail terminal into an oil terminal to supply Bay Area refineries (Tesoro, maybe others).
Now we find out that Bakken shale oil has been coming to Bay Area refineries from Sacramento. The facility there didn’t get a permit, until their activities were discovered by that region’s Air District in September. Then they didn’t even get a fine – they got a permit in short order.
Hardly anybody knows about these trains coming through, and there don’t seem to be any real rules on them at all. The only permits these facilities have had to get were air pollution permits from the regional Air Districts!