Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Another oil train explodes in West Virginia. Here's why this keeps happening.

From:  Vox

Oil containers sit at a train depot on July 26, 2013 outside Williston, North Dakota. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

It's one of the darker, violent aspects of the North American oil boom. We've been shipping a lot more crude oil by rail in recent years. And, on occasion, those trains can derail and explode — with horrific results.

West Virginia is now the latest casualty. On Monday, a CSX-owned freight train traveling through Fayette County went off the rails and burst into flame. Two nearby towns had to evacuate, and a water-treatment plant shut down after concern that oil seeped into the Kanawha River. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has declared a state of emergency for the county.

It's still unclear what caused the derailment. Early reports suggest 9 or 10 tank cars caught fire, and one person was being treated for smoke inhalation.(CSX said the tank cars were a newer model, not a widely used older version known to be especially prone to puncture.) The AP got video of the fireball:  MORE

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