Home | About | Donate

Breaking: Oil Train Derails Along Columbia River in Oregon


Breaking: Oil Train Derails Along Columbia River in Oregon

Jon Queally, staff writer

This story is developing and may be updated...

A fire is burning and large plume of smoke is rising after a train carrying oil derailed along the Columbia River near the town of Mosier, Oregon on Friday.

OregonLive.com reports:


Just the latest in the on-going saga of those "Forces of Death" that Hedges and others speak of. This is the death-knell of our planet, as the "Oiligarchs" do whatever they can-or want-to profit from the planet while she burns


Of course, a child would recognize the dangers of moving oil trains through communites.
And that being true, what of the oil trucks we regularly see on our highways?
Nor can this morph into an argument for pipelines --
The issue is that we have known for more than a half century that we need to stop burning
fossil fuels.

We all know this.


This train is called a "bomb train" in the article´s headline. And it´s clearly identified as an "oil train" in the article itself.

These are two different things. If it had been a bomb train with an "Explosives A" placard on boxcars, of the sort I was warned of and witnessed in the 1980s, it would have been good to have been a mile away from the blast.

As anyone might imagine, this is an important distinction, especially if you happen to be living near a rail line anywhere in the U.S.


The labeling requirements for DOT-111 tank cars carrying oil are very lax and do not represent the potential hazards associated with them. The integrity of the tanks is also inferior.


And the radius of the circumference of the danger zone for these so-called "bomb trains" is one mile?


Thanks, Enemy!


The distinction I want to make clear, then, is between DOT-111 tank cars that carry oil and boxcars with "Explosives A" placards on their sides that carry bombs and other high explosives. These bombs and high explosives are (or were?) shipped from points of manufacture to various weapons stations in the U.S., either for storage or for transshipment overseas.


Thanks, friend, for your response. I´m just a bit concerned about a blurring of the distinction between oil trains and bomb trains. The photos in the article don´t appear to indicate damage at the level of an instant blast of the magnitude of a bomb train that carries bombs and high explosives. Both bomb trains and oil trains are bad in my opinion, but for different reasons. My involvement in the 80s in protests against shipments of "Explosives A" in thus-marked trains is the origin of my concern.


Trains that carry flammable oil or fracking gases blow up LIKE bombs; and they can do enormous damage. THAT is why they're referred to as Bomb trains.


A few years back, a LNG/oil car derailment and fire happened just a few km from where I live. The explosion created a literal mushroom cloud -- my boys saw it. Miraculously, no one was hurt. The scorch marks extended across both lanes of Highway 16, one of the busiest highways in the province but fortunately it was late at night so no cars were there. Also, the derailment and fire happened near the hamlet of Gainford but not actually in it. People had to be evacuated from their homes.



This illustrates my concern about opposing pipelines:
If there is demand for a commodity at 'B' and supply at 'A', it will move from 'A' to 'B' somehow and despite all its faults, a pipeline is still the safest mode to move oil or natural gas.
The solution is not to fight the (safest) means of transportation, but to choke off the demand.

There is no way, we will ever be able to curtail the supply. The are too many sources, too widely dispersed. But we can put an end to fossil fuel contaminating our air by impeding its use and promoting and developing alternate, clean, sources, such as renewable and fusion. The infrastructure delivering the stuff will crumble on its own.


And there is no excuse for not monitoring the pipelines properly, except for that the pipeline companies are allowed to neglect monitoring.


From the view point of your concerns, letting the fire burn itself out would, in my lay opinion, be the safest for river and oceans, because oil that is burned can no longer pollute the water, except with ashes. But the air pollution is clearly horrendous.


Thank you for this important article and information about how lax the railroads are and how corporate and fossil fuel friendly ODOT has been. This needs to be stopped.


You haven't heard the half of it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lac-Mégantic_rail_disaster


Good of you to clarify that obscure reference. Thanks, Siouxrose. Always a joy being patronized.


Thanks very much for your help, friend Enemy. So much going on around us, who is able to keep up with it all? The info you provided helps fill in the picture for me.

I had been used to thinking that a "bomb train," such as those I had seen on the rails of the U.S. when I lived in closer physical proximity to rail lines, carried bombs and munitions--obviously items whose primary purposes are both slaughter (now erroneously termed, "war"), lots of money for the bomb makers, and I guess some vague feeling of "security" for those who pay the bomb makers. Seeing the headline to this article, it was automatic for me to think of the derailing of a munitions-bearing train.

Trains pulling oil tankers, such as is the subject of the article, appear aptly enough termed "bomb trains," and using the term in a headline certainly catches the eye. I wish I had time to research online whether any distinction remains in news reports regarding these two types of bomb trains, and whether, even after the oil- and fracking gas-tanker trains should be banned, there will still be the other kind of bomb trains riding the rails through the rural, urban, and suburban landscape.

Again, thanks for you kind assistance.


Now this is a picture of Environmental Terrorism! The Terrorist against our Ecological support system, of our only planet.


This is of great interest to me because I live on the Columbia River, on a sailboat in a marina in Portland, Oregon. From my boat I can watch the oil trains passing across the river on the Vancouver, Washington side of the river. The only good thing I can say is it didn't happen in a place where the rail line is running along a shear rock face directly above the river, as it does in many places in Columbia George National Scenic Area. This is craziness beyound belief.

I don't know if people have any idea what is going on. While Portland and Vancouver are fighting about a major oil terminal in the Metro area, a major oil terminal has already been slipped in under the radar down river at the old military docks of Port Westward, near the tiny town of Clatskanie, Oregon. We are talking about double dirty dealing. Please seach Google for "Port Westard Oil Terminal" and visit the Columbia Riverkeepers page at http://columbiariverkeeper.org/our-work/oil-by-rail/port-westward/ and follow the link to the Global Partners report at http://columbiariverkeeper.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/2014.9.12-Oil-in-CC-flier.pdf

Edit to add PS: Record heat predicted in Portland today and tomorrow. We have been shattering heat records all winter and spring.