August 19, 2015 |
A rail-safety expert recommended Monday that Pennsylvania step up track inspections and press railroads to increase the number of electronic trackside monitors to reduce the risk of oil-train derailments. Allan M. Zarembski, a University of Delaware expert commissioned by Gov. Wolf to explore responses to a massive increase in oil-train traffic, made 27 recommendations on ways the state and railroads can reduce the risk of a catastrophic derailment. Zarembski acknowledged that the state has limited leverage over federally regulated railroads, and that the U.S. Department of Transportation and the industry have already moved to upgrade safety standards, including new railcar rules.
August 19, 2015 |
Lois Campana had just returned home from her shift as a night nurse. Her husband, Ralph, was getting dressed for a shift at Ladder 16. It was Aug. 17, 1975, and Ralph Campana already knew where he was heading: the Gulf Oil refinery in South Philadelphia, where a massive fire had been burning since before dawn. "Those people are going to blow themselves up one day," he told Lois. The refinery had already been the site of 10 multiple-alarm fires. He finished dressing, got in his car, and drove off as Lois waved from the front porch.
August 17, 2015 |
The 1988 sale of the Rainbow Inn appeared to many a clean break. Theresa Maderich, a self-made businesswoman, was selling the Clayton liquor store and bar to pursue a new opportunity. Larry Dalton, a bartender from a well-known political family, eager to have his own business, saw potential in the former 19th-century hotel. Neither party anticipated a transaction that would be mired in controversy 27 years later. Neither suspected the trouble that an underground oil tank would present.
August 3, 2015 |
A BNSF train pulled out of a terminal in North Dakota's Bakken Shale region last month, hauling 106 tank cars filled with crude oil on a westward journey to a refinery near Ferndale, Wash. It didn't get far. Just 30 miles into its thousand-mile-plus trek to the Pacific Coast, the train derailed July 16 on a straightaway outside Culbertson, Mont. Twenty-two tank cars left the rails. Five were breached, BNSF says, spilling 35,000 gallons of Bakken crude. In the pile-up, a live power line was knocked down.
July 24, 2015 |
The Federal Railroad Administration on Wednesday reminded railroads transporting crude oil that they must notify state emergency response commissions of the expected movement of trains hauling Bakken crude oil through individual states. In May, the Obama administration had said it would let a 2014 notification rule lapse as part of new regulations on oil trains. Following a backlash from communities, states, and some in Congress, the administration said it would leave the notification rule in place.
July 22, 2015 |
Lockheed Martin Corp. agreed Monday to buy helicopter maker Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. for $9 billion, and Lockheed's CEO said she sees "a real opportunity for growth" in Sikorsky's commercial division, which is based in Coatesville. "Sikorsky's footprint in the commercial aviation segment is well-established," Lockheed CEO Marillyn Hewson said Monday on a conference call with analysts. While the commercial business "has been under recent pressure due to low oil prices, it is expected to recover and add value," Hewson said.
July 13, 2015 |
Two years after a fatal oil-train derailment in Quebec drew national attention to the transport of crude oil, more than 100 people gathered Saturday in Center City to remember the victims and demand better train safety controls in Philadelphia. "These trains go through our neighborhoods and right past our most important icons, and right by a major water supply," said Tracy Carluccio, director of special projects at Delaware Riverkeeper Network, one of the groups that organized the rally at Schuylkill River Trails park, near tracks used by oil trains daily.
July 6, 2015 |
Henry Rudolph Bilhuber, 87, of Media, an oil-company executive and a skilled sailor, died Tuesday, June 23, of kidney failure at his home. Mr. Bilhuber spent a long career with Mobil Oil Co., starting as a coordinator for service stations. He quickly excelled and became the engineering manager for the firm's eastern region. He was then appointed to a five-year assignment in Norway as a contracts manager for the construction of three huge oil-drilling platforms in the North Sea that were jointly owned by Norway and the United States.
June 15, 2015 |
HEIMDAL, N.D. - Arden Georgeson, 78, thought the dark column rising skyward was a tornado. He shouted to his wife, Linda, 72, to run to the cellar. Then the Georgesons made out orange flames along the railroad tracks adjoining their farm, and the source of the smoke came into focus: A mile-long train transporting crude oil had derailed. The fiery wreck last month was the second in North Dakota since 2013, and the 10th in North America in two years, including five already in 2015.
June 8, 2015
ISSUE | OIL TRAINS Safer routes The reality is that Bakken oil trains endanger thousands in the Delaware Valley, rail accidents are a daily reality, and federal regulations are too weak ("Good safety record, getting better," June 2). Better to transport oil by ship through the Great Lakes directly to refineries. Leaders in City Hall need to demand that no lives be imperiled so that Philadelphia can become an energy hub. |Michael Volpe, Philadelphia, firstname.lastname@example.org ISSUE | CLIMATE Role for church Climate-altering pollution is leading to more deadly storms, drought, and famine - impacts disproportionately felt by the poorest in our communities ("Santorum says Pope Francis should butt out of climate debate," June 3)