Saturday January 4, 2014, 1:09 am
I keep hearing story after story about accidents involving the transportation of oil within the US. The stories all seem to have one common thread. Nothing is ever done about it. That has led me to this question: Does Big Oil Own the Rails? In at least one state, the answer is obvious.
Saturday January 4, 2014, 2:53 am
The answer is indeed both obvious and positive, TomCat. Cutting corners to make even more profit and both people and environment be damned. Accidents are happening all the time, ND can just wait for a disaster to happen and then it'll all be blamed on ND itself and not on Big Oil. What else is new?
Saturday January 4, 2014, 5:30 am
"Safety officials have worried for years about hazardous materials carried on trains, but concern has intensified recently as a drilling surge in remote oil fields has generated heavy traffic on North America’s aging rail-freight networks."
Just what safety officials are worried? Rachel's brilliant-as-always analysis shows that the Public Safety department of North Dakota's government could well be where Alfred. E. Neuman has been making his home. Their response to a natural gas company building and operating a natural gas pipeline illegally, with no permits whatsoever, for TWO years, was classic. What Me Worry? No fine because that might deter other energy companies from taking part in the gold rush that is North Dakota these days. It is as lawless as were previous such events, two centuries ago. And as safe.
This whole story though comes to a point that I have been concerned about for a very long time, our infrastructure. There was a time in this country when we had real leaders in political offices around the country including DC. Statesmen who were capable of compromise, who looked far down the road and saw what the country was going to need and enacted laws and taxes to build our infrastructure. We now have baboons in Congress (thanks, to Kit, I now know a collection of baboons is called a Congress) who are incapable of seeing further down the road than their next election. Who are more concerned with religious repression than the health of our economy or our people. We have an amazing infrastructure and it is as complex as it is amazing. But it is aging. Sewers built to last 50 years are now 80 to 150 years old, our interstate freeways could not be built in this day. I don't think we could agree to build an intercontinental railroad, we certainly can't agree to maintain it. The NSA is worried about terrorism and attacks with bombs on American soil. Wouldn't it be easier to just blow up a few railroad tracks in cities where extremely dangerous (light, sweet crude oil, my rear!) materials rocket through daily? A single lightening strike in Ohio can take out the electrical grid of the entire eastern seaboard. We have to modernize our infrastructure and we have to spend the money required to do so. Failing to do so opens us to attacks not only by terrorists but by mother nature and the super storms spawned by climate change. It should be dereliction of duty for our national leaders to ignore so completely anything that doesn't help them in their next election. We have many and great needs and they are being completely ignored. The piper WILL come to town for payment in one way or another, why shouldn't we be out in front of this? Worse things than increasing derailments are coming at us and our government is listening to our phone calls rather than spending the money necessary to keep us safe, alive and our economy alive by investing the money we spend spying on people in this country's infrastructure. They fiddle, we will all burn.
Saturday January 4, 2014, 7:45 am
Railroads have always had exception to the monopoly rules--why they were a separate investment in the game. With conglomerates it is likely that there are corporate relationships with fossil fuels, Late last century there was a major train explosion in Roseville, CA that led to rules forbidding explosive freight from going through populated areas. The definitions of explosive seemed to include oil and gas--has the law changed or is it not being enforced or what?
Saturday January 4, 2014, 10:00 am
Thanks Tom for the Posting, link to the full NYT article and as always a great video segment from Rachel. ND voters need to wake up and vote the corporate lackeys out of office. Read and noted.
Public safety is not rated above the transportation needs of anything from hazardous chemicals to dangerously toxic or explosive elements. Not to worry, the head of transportation in North Dakota said that oil cannot be considered combustible. I was thrilled to learn that, the darn news had me believing a mile of rail cars exploded one after the other, all carrying oil.
What can do about this? Well, folks that goes back to the Santa Clara - v- Southern Pacific SCOTUS decision (1865), not resolved then but strangely resolved by the current court, know to all of us as Citizens United; which gives person-hood to corporations and that includes the railroads. (also carefully read the 14th amendment)
The court reporter, former president of the Newburgh and New York Railway Company J.C. Bancroft Davis, wrote the following as part of the headnote for the case:
"One of the points made and discussed at length in the brief of counsel for defendants in error was that 'corporations are persons within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.' Before argument, Mr. Chief Justice Waite said: The court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of the opinion that it does."
In other words, the headnote claimed that all of the justices believed that corporations enjoyed rights under the Fourteenth Amendment, adopted in 1868. In fact, the headnote was only a reporting by the Court Reporter of the Chief Justice's personal interpretation of the Justices' opinions. The issue of applicability of "Equal Protection to any persons" to the railroads was not addressed in the decision of the Court in the case.
From Wiki but there are many sources out there -
Saturday January 4, 2014, 12:34 pm
I can only assume that people are still pushing for Keystone XL because it won't be in their back yard. People.
BTW, there is a petition on Change dot org by a group called "Coloradans for Responsible Fracking." It keeps popping up for me if I sign another petition there. If it ever pops up for you, please, please, PLEASE DON'T sign it. Thank you.
Saturday January 4, 2014, 2:20 pm
I try to watch MSNBC every nite - especially Rachel Maddow. That's about the only way to REALLY know what is truly going on! She tells it like it really is. She really kicked the combined asses of the ridiculous Koch Bros. when they sent her a script of what she is supposed to say about them! I laughed out loud right along with her!
Saturday January 4, 2014, 3:27 pm
Of course. What do you think most rails run on now? Say not to Big Oil and Big Rails don't run anymore. The problem, however, is that all of us, each person is not turning in their car in favor of horse & buggy. I know, wouldn't work, but as long as we're tooling along the highway, we're as much a part of the problem as any corporation. SIGH.
Saturday January 4, 2014, 4:51 pm
Just one more reason to push, push, push and scream, scream, scream for more alternative energy, such as wind and solar! At least you don't have accidents hauling sunshine by rail. Which is, of course, precisely why the Big Oil hogs are fighting renewable energy tooth and trotter.
Saturday January 4, 2014, 5:58 pm
I honestly believe that when you start digging deep into stock ownership of all corporations you will find the same "entities" own most all controlling shares of nearly all the major corporations. This has been going on for over 150 years, even before Carnegie and Rockefeller were battling it out to see who could become the richest man in the world first. Corporate greed indeed runs this country and unless we get another Teddy Roosevelt in office to stop it, or the people realize that they are merely used as pawns for the greedy and decide not to play their game anymore, this will just continue.
Saturday January 4, 2014, 8:22 pm
I know that the citizens of the U.S. are so proud that Big Oil receives app. $4 Billion in subsidies. Maybe congress will declare a non profit status for the oil companies just like it did for the NFL. WOW!
Sunday January 5, 2014, 12:58 am
KUDOS TOM!...ALEC is EVERYWHERE!@!!!!!!!!!!!%%#@#^&&&%#$^**(*!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Trains, planes , roads, ..our jobs. our food , our homes...our telephones, our TV (have to have cable!), Newspapers are defunk, ALEC KILLED THEM. 2014!, and buying the radio airwaves, and how many times have everyone of us been "hacked" in one way or another here on the internet!!!???!!!
Does big oil own the railways???? YES!!! ALEC AND THE KOCH BROTHERS OWN OUR GONADS!!!...AND I DON'T LIKE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!