Another Oil Train Derailment In Canada, Can We Build Pipelines Yet?


No word yet on the cause of the derailment, or even whether or not the oil cars were involved, but the way this derailment in Canada is being reported indicates just how hot this hot-button issue has become.

A train carrying propane and crude oil has derailed in northwest New Brunswick, Canada, causing a fire and the evacuation of local residents but there were no reports of injuries, according to local officials and the railroad.

The Canadian National Railway train, which carried “dangerous goods” including propane and crude oil, derailed near the village of Plaster Rock at about 7 p.m. local time, according to Jim Feeny, director of public and government affairs at CN. An unknown number of cars were involved.

This latest derailment comes a little more than a week after a train carrying crude oil in the booming oil state of North Dakota derailed and exploded near Casselton.

There was nobody injured by the derailment – thankfully – and no word yet on where the oil was from, not that it matters. There as been an explosion in oil-by-rail traffic in the US and Canada, and these high-profile and explosive derailments are making people nervous about all that traffic.

Yesterday I wrote about these derailments raising eyebrows on Wall Street. It’s worth keeping in mind that if rail capacity gets tamped down, it’s going to have a big impact on the Bakken. Crude oil from the Bakken already sells at a discount. A ramp-up in transportation costs and delays is only going to exacerbate that situation.

Anti-oil activists would like to paint this as a reason to stop producing oil, because switching to expensive and unreliable alternatives would be just what this already weak economy needs right? Really, these derailments illustrate the harm done by political obstruction of energy infrastructure like pipelines.