Saturday, June 7, 2014

Omnitrax Canada set to rail crude oil to Churchill

Omnitrax Canada is set to do a test run this August of shipping crude oil by rail to the underutilized port in the great town of Churchill, Manitoba. From there it would be transported by ship to the east coast and to European customers. Frustrated by the American procrastination on the Keystone XL pipeline to the southern States, and environmental objections to pipelines to the west coast or the arctic, the Conservative government is expected to support this venture. This route for transporting oil would need no approval because it is already used for shipping oil for use in northern communities and storage tanks are already in place.

Present plans for the mitigation of oil spills would be to simply lay heavy plastic down both sides of the track. This would be much less expensive than to rebuild the present track which moves around due to frost heaves in the permafrost the whole year round. Figures from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada show there have been 63 accidents on the Hudson Bay rail line between 2003 and 2012. All but 10 were derailments. Derailments would be inevitable so the best plan would be just to make it easy to mop them up when they happen. It would also create year round employment opportunities for the locals who could cut the tress and underbrush which grew through the plastic and keep any holes and rips repaired with duck tape.

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