Crude and Ethanol Risk and Safety

Crude Oil and Ethanol by Rail:
Reducing Risk and
Improving Emergency
Crude Oil and Ethanol by Rail
Reducing Risk/Improving Response
• Crude Oil and Ethanol Growth
• Iowa’s Plan: Understand both Rail and
Emergency Response Systems
• Preliminary Observations
Crude Oil and Ethanol by Rail
Why Iowa is Concerned
Iowa Crude and Biofuels Study
• Why: Public and political attention to
recent incidents
• Focus: Rail transportation of crude oil,
and ethanol in Iowa
• Schedule: Commenced in August, draft
report in January 2016
• Stakeholders: railroads, state and local
agencies, first responders
• Study consultant team: HDR
Engineering, Inc., and Witt O’Brien’s
• Goal: An actionable strategy to reduce
risk and improve emergency response
Ethanol derailment and fire,
Baltimore, 2007
Crude Oil and Ethanol by Rail
Growth in Rail Traffic
Iowa’s concerns are complex and broad
• Iowa is a major ethanol producer – ethanol is an important jobs and economic
driver in Iowa
• Iowa is a major transit state for crude oil, too
• However, significant spills/fire/loss of life has led to public and political concern,
and media attention
Iowa Railroad Safety Symposium
Prevention - Safety
Track inspectors’ area of responsibility
Crude Oil and Ethanol by Rail
Railroad Perspective
• Economically speaking, crude oil
and ethanol trains are probably
here to stay
• New tank car standards will not
reduce risk to zero
• Public perception of risk is
probably not going to diminish
• Elected and public officials are
under pressure to restrict,
regulate, or eliminate oil and
ethanol trains
• Emergency responders will still
need to respond
Crude Oil and Ethanol by Rail
National Impact is Broad
Perspective on Volumes
• Ethanol: From less than 1 to ~ 8 train-starts
per day in 15 years
• Between 30 and 60 ethanol trains operating
any given day
• Oil: From less than 1 to ~ 15 train-starts per
day in 5 years
• Between 50 and 100 oil trains operating in
any given day
• Very large single-train volumes – upward of
3,000,000 gallons per train
• Many current routes are historically not
heavy-volume hazmat lanes
• Many mid-U.S. rail lines are now carrying oil
and ethanol unit trains
• New routes will likely appear
• Not really viable to restrict routes
Crude Oil and Ethanol by Rail
Incidents can be significant
Low probability, high impact
• Casselton, ND, December 2013: 1400 were people evacuated; 34-car train
• Aliceville, Alabama, November 2013: more than 750,000 gallons of Bakken crude
spilled in or near wetlands; 30 cars derailed; some burned
• Lac-Megantic, Quebec, July 2013: 47 people killed and area of downtown
destroyed by fire in crude oil accident involving 63 derailed cars; 2000 people
Crude Oil and Ethanol by Rail
Not Just a Track and Tankcar Problem
Who owns this problem?
• “It’s a railroad problem”
• “It’s a federal regulation problem”
• “It’s a carbon-dependency problem”
Iowa’s Questions:
How much risk do we have of an incident?
How much risk do we have?
How do we reduce risk?
Are emergency preparedness programs
• How, where, and what do we do to improve
our emergency response?
• How can our railroads and emergency
responders improve their communication,
planning, and response?
Crude Oil and Ethanol by Rail
Railroad Volume and Risk Analysis
Iowa’s Study – Rail Components:
• Inform the state about the frequency,
routes, and characteristics of crude oil and
biofuels by rail within and through Iowa.
• Assess the risks to public health and safety,
and the potential environmental impacts or
rail transportation of crude oil and biofuels
• Document current programs and efforts
related to rail incident prevention and
management, including access to
emergency equipment and services.
• Understand the limitations of federal rules
• Understand what each railroad’s plans and
procedures are
Crude Oil and Ethanol by Rail
Emergency Response Analysis
Iowa’s Study Elements –
Emergency Response
• Realistic risk assessment (requires
information sharing between local
government/EM and railroads); include
routes, material classification, volumes
• Location matters, so identification and
mapping of population and critical
infrastructure along routes with crude and
ethanol transport (½-mile of rail line)
• Assessment of hazmat response capabilities
along route
• Ability to operate in spill scenario, including
fire, hazmat, evacuation, medical transport,
and shelter capabilities? mutual aid?
• Plans, procedures, and coordination –
trained on and exercised
Crude Oil and Ethanol by Rail
Federal, State, and Industry Resources
Information Resources:
• Rail lines and crude and ethanol
terminals operating in your jurisdiction
• State emergency management and
public service/railroad commission
• Federal Railroad Administration
• U.S. DOT Pipeline and Hazardous
Material Safety Administration
• Energy Information Administration
(U.S. Dept. of Energy)
• American Association of Railroads
Crude Oil and Ethanol by Rail
Bottom Line:
• State agencies, railroads, and local first
responders must improve their partnership
• Improved knowledge of railroads – where,
what, how – by emergency management
• Training and resources flow to key areas
• Public awareness of improvements
• Increased risk in some locations, so
increased need for updated risk assessment
and leveraging of capabilities to protect
human health and safety as well as property
and infrastructure.
Tammy Nicholson
Office of Rail Transportation
Mark Hemphill
HDR Engineering, Inc.
Phillip Webber
Witt O’Brien’s