File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS Some central Alberta mayors are raising concerns about the safety of increasing crude-by-rail shipments in the province.

Shipping oil by rail questioned

Red Deer-area mayors respond

Shipping more oil by rail raises red flags for Red Deer County Mayor Jim Wood.

This week, the Alberta government announced it is leasing 4,400 railway cars to move landlocked oil to market.

“I think if you add up all the negatives, it’s evident it’s not the way we want to go,” Wood said.

“The purchase of additional rail cars to move oil is a Band-Aid solution to an overarching problem and that’s the lack of pipelines.”

He said derailments happen all the time and longer trains impede traffic at intersections.

“The trains are suppose to slow down when they come through towns. But there can always be somebody who drives in front of the train to cause the accident. It will happen. It’s not if, it’s when.”

Last June, seven rail cars carrying crude oil left the track between Penhold and Red Deer. One car leaked oil.

It was the second time in the past 14 years that a derailment with a leak or spill has occurred in roughly the same area.

In a separate incident several years ago, some people had to be evacuated from Red Deer after a derailed tanker leaked toxic anhydrous ammonia.

Wood said as a farmer who ships grain by rail, too many cars on a rail line slows the system down.

“It only takes one glitch in the system to back everything up. If we’re going to be able to keep the good markets that we’ve established over the years, we have to be reliable.”

He said the focus needs to be on building pipelines. The safety record is good, especially with new pipelines. The economy needs a boost and people require jobs.

“I personally think if we were to have a government make an announcement that the pipeline was taking place, that the oil industry could see construction started and have that confidence, I think we’d see an immediate boost to the price of the product,” Wood said.

Mayor Tara Veer said the city supports securing market access for energy, but said safety considerations need to be factored in.

“The safest solution and the most environmentally sustainable solution is pipeline infrastructure. And it’s unfortunate that it’s come to this, that the provincial government has to even consider alternative means,” Veer said.

“We expect that many of the rail cars will actually bypass Red Deer. But obviously it is of concern and highlights the need to continue to elevate our community voice nationally in terms of securing pipeline infrastructure.”

She said most of the safety regulations are at a provincial level, and certainly if the city has any safety concerns, it would flag those for the province and its regulatory bodies.

On Thursday, Tim McMillan, president and CEO of Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, will speak about the association’s 2019 Alberta energy platform at the Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

In a statement regarding the increased rail shipments, the association said it supports all efforts to expand market access and help address the storage glut.

“Effective market access for oil is essential to ensuring Alberta receives full market price for its exports and to improve our industry’s competitiveness. The best, long-term solution lies with additional pipelines infrastructures,” the statement said.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

UPDATED: Economy and health care expected to be hot election topics

Premier Rachel Notley makes announcement on Tuesday morning

Cruel and sadistic: Central Alberta dog rescuers believe there are dog fighting rings in province

With the increased number of stolen dogs, some central Alberta rescuers are… Continue reading

Red Deer hospital expansion recognized in throne speech

Society for Hospital Expansion in Central Alberta calls for more details

Mixed Nuts revue presented Saturday to kick off first Carole Forhan Theatrical Scholarship

Broadway songs, comedy skits are part of the Red Deer Players production

Opinion: Let’s be heard ‘loud and clear’ during provincial election campaign

By David Marsden During the banquet for Sunday’s Boston Bruins alumni game,… Continue reading

Documentary on Colten Boushie case to open Toronto’s Hot Docs festival

TORONTO — A film examining the case of a young Indigenous man… Continue reading

Want to help bees? Plant flowering herbs

Herbs are among the most useful plants in nature. They can tantalize… Continue reading

UN: Gene editing for human reproduction is ‘irresponsible’

GENEVA — A panel convened by the World Health Organization said it… Continue reading

Photos: Three moose spotted in Red Deer Tuesday

Three moose were spotted in Red Deer Tuesday morning. Red Deer resident… Continue reading

Andreescu rockets to No. 24 in WTA Tour rankings after Indian Wells title

Canada’s Bianca Andreescu has rocketed to No. 24 in the WTA Tour… Continue reading

Canadian figure skaters looking to reach new heights at world championships

Nam Nguyen, Alaine Chartrand and Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro all have… Continue reading

Man linked to largest art heist in history freed from prison

HARTFORD, Conn. — A reputed Connecticut mobster who federal authorities believe is… Continue reading

Most Read