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Common Dreams

Third Time's Still a Toxic Mess: Another Derailment Spews Crude

Another incident highlights dangers of not "leaving the oil in the soil"

by
Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer

A freight train carrying Canadian crude derailed in southeastern Saskatchewan, Canada on Tuesday spilling over 575 barrels of oil—Canadian Pacific's third and largest such spill in three months.

The CP train was transporting crude oil near the village of Jansen when it slipped off the tracks, The Canadian Press reports.

This most recent derailment is another reminder of the dangers of transporting oil.

"The spill may again prompt concerns about the environmental risks of shipping crude on railways and raise questions about CP's safety record as the company pushes hard to cut costs and boost efficiency under new executive leadership," Reuters reports.

As Canadian oil development, including the tar sands, speeds up, oil spills from both freight trains and pipelines across Canada and the U.S. have increased.

Meanwhile, the Canadian government and the fossil fuel industry have stepped up pressure on the Obama administration to OK the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline—which would churn 900,000 barrels of dirty tar sands oil into the United States per day.

But much of the U.S. public continues to urge the Obama administration and Canada's Harper administration to leave the oil in the ground.

As environmentalists have noted, the question is not about whether it is safer to transport the oil by rail or by pipeline.

As 350.org spokesperson Jamie Henn has said, "Saying we need to consume tar sands via pipeline because rail lines are dangerous is like saying we need to smoke crack because its better than heroin. Pipelines are also prone to disaster, just look at Exxon's recent spill in the Yellowstone River or the major Enbridge disaster in Kalamazoo." 

"The real way to protect our land, water and climate is to break our addiction, not debate delivery mechanisms for the poison," said Henn.

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